Tito Ortiz is a member of the following lists: Participants in American reality television series, 1975 births and American mixed martial artists. Contribute. Help us build our profile of Tito Ortiz! Login to add information, pictures and relationships, join in discussions and get credit for your contributions. Tito Ortiz’s Girlfriend. Tito Ortiz is single. He is not dating anyone currently. Tito had at least 4 relationship in the past. Tito Ortiz has not been previously engaged. He had three sons named Journey, Jacob and Jesse with adult film actress Jenna Jameson, whom he was married to from 2006-2013. He then began dating model Amber Miller in 2014. Boyfriend – Tito Ortiz. ... After that marriage ended in divorce, he began dating adult film actress Jenna Jameson. With their relationship, Jameson stopped working in pornography and they started a family, having twin boys. Their relationship lasted for seven years before they separated and he was given full custody of the children. Quick Biography. Tito Ortiz was born Jacob Christopher Ortiz, and he is born on 23rd January 1975.He is the son of Joyce Robles and Sam Ortiz and was brought up alongside his three half-brothers. He had a very challenging childhood as his parents separated when he was only 13-yrs old. 6 September 2020... Tito Ortiz news, gossip, photos of Tito Ortiz, biography, Tito Ortiz girlfriend list 2016. Relationship history. Tito Ortiz relationship list. Tito Ortiz dating history, 2020, 2019, list of Tito Ortiz relationships. Tito Ortiz: Girlfriend, Dating, Family & Friends Tito Ortiz is cdating former UFC ring girl Amber Nichole Miller after separating with Jenna Jameson. Although the couple has no plans to tie the knot, their connection is unbreakable and Amber acts as a stepmom to Ortiz's three sons from his two previous relationships.
Post-Match Thread: Defensa y Justicia 2-1 Olimpia [CONMEBOL Libertadores, Round 4]
2020.09.24 02:41 threaddoPost-Match Thread: Defensa y Justicia 2-1 Olimpia [CONMEBOL Libertadores, Round 4]
FT: Defensa y Justicia 2-1 Olimpia
Defensa y Justicia
W. Camacho 20'
B. Romero 62'
I. Pitta 75'
Date: 24/09/2020 — 00:15 CEST, 18:15 EDT, 23:15 BST, 03:45 IST Competition: CONMEBOL Libertadores (Round 4) Venue: Estadio Norberto Tito Tomaghello (Florencio Varela, Provincia de Buenos Aires) Referee: C. Garay
Defensa y Justicia: N. Breitenbruch (SUB 27'), N. Acevedo (SUB 62'), M. Merentiel (SUB 63'; YC 90'+2'), M. Duarte (SUB 77'), N. Tripichio, A. Sienra, N. Gallardo, E. Coacci, A. Maíz, N. Leguizamón, V. Larralde, D. Rodríguez Olimpia: J. Arias (SUB 31'), H. Fernández (SUB 46'; SUB 88'), J. Recalde (SUB 69'), N. Camacho (SUB 70'), B. Montenegro (SUB 88'), A. Aguilar, J. Rojas, A. Benítez, D. Polenta, N. Domingo, W. Candia, R. Santa Cruz
20': Goal! W. Camacho scores [E. Isnaldo assist] — Defensa y Justicia -0 Olimpia . 27': Substitution for Defensa y Justicia: N. Breitenbruch in, A. Frías out. 31': Substitution for Olimpia: J. Arias in, I. Torres out. 43': Yellow card shown to J. Leguizamón ( Olimpia). 44': Yellow card shown to H. Martínez ( Defensa y Justicia). 46': Substitution for Olimpia: H. Fernández in, A. Silva out. 49': Yellow card shown to R. Ortiz ( Olimpia). 51': Yellow card shown to H. Caballero ( Olimpia). 52': Yellow card shown to E. Fernández ( Defensa y Justicia). 59': Yellow card shown to B. Romero ( Defensa y Justicia). 62': Goal! B. Romero scores [G. Hachen assist] — Defensa y Justicia -0 Olimpia . 62': Substitution for Defensa y Justicia: N. Acevedo in, E. Fernández out. 63': Substitution for Defensa y Justicia: M. Merentiel in, G. Hachen out. 67': Red card (2nd yellow) shown to H. Caballero ( Olimpia). 69': Substitution for Olimpia: J. Recalde in, D. González out. 70': Substitution for Olimpia: N. Camacho in, L. de La Cruz out. 75': Goal! I. Pitta scores [S. Otálvaro assist] — Defensa y Justicia 2- Olimpia . 77': Substitution for Defensa y Justicia: M. Duarte in, E. Isnaldo out. 88': Substitution for Olimpia: B. Montenegro in, H. Fernández out. 90'+2': Yellow card shown to M. Merentiel ( Defensa y Justicia).
Defensa y Justicia: G. Hachen (SUB 45'+1'; G 55'), N. Leguizamón (SUB 64'; G 79'), N. Tripichio (SUB 64'), A. Maíz (SUB 84'), M. Merentiel (SUB 84'), A. Sienra, D. Rodríguez, M. Duarte, M. Luayza, V. Larralde, N. Gallardo, J. Rodríguez Delfín: J. Valencia (SUB 61'), C. Velez (SUB 80'), D. Noboa, S. Portocarrero, J. Rojas, A. Baroja, A. Macias, J. Carreño, A. Villalva, J. León, F. Mera
20': Yellow card shown to C. Rius ( Defensa y Justicia). 24': Yellow card shown to Harlod González ( Delfín). 43': Yellow card shown to A. Ale ( Delfín). 45'+1': Substitution for Defensa y Justicia: G. Hachen in, F. Pizzini out. 52': Goal! B. Romero scores [C. Rius assist] — Defensa y Justicia -0 Delfín . 55': Goal! G. Hachen scores [E. Isnaldo assist] — Defensa y Justicia -0 Delfín . 61': Substitution for Delfín: J. Valencia in, J. Cifuente out. 64': Substitution for Defensa y Justicia: N. Leguizamón in, W. Camacho out. 64': Substitution for Defensa y Justicia: N. Tripichio in, C. Rius out. 79': Goal! N. Leguizamón scores [B. Romero assist] — Defensa y Justicia -0 Delfín . 80': Substitution for Delfín: C. Velez in, A. Ale out. 84': Substitution for Defensa y Justicia: A. Maíz in, M. Benítez out. 84': Substitution for Defensa y Justicia: M. Merentiel in, B. Romero out. 90'+1': Yellow card shown to A. Frías ( Defensa y Justicia).
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUSLY:
WWE hit the reset button again with a new storyline assigning general managers to each brand, and it featured the shocking debut of Eric Bischoff. The new storyline will have Bischoff as the heel GM of Raw, while Stephanie McMahon will be the babyface GM of Smackdown, while Vince McMahon will take more of a backseat role and reduce his TV presence. Of course, just 5 weeks ago, Vince panicked and blew up the existing "feuding GMs" storyline between himself and Ric Flair, so now we're re-starting it with new people I guess. It feels like a last-ditch effort to save the brand extension, which has been an utter flop since day one, with no effort to differentiate the shows and only resulting in diluting the talent and falling ratings.
Bischoff and McMahon struck a secret deal about 10 days prior to his debut. Bischoff had talks with WWE last year about coming in during the original Invasion angle, except they only wanted him to do a one-off match with Vince for the PPV (which Vince would obviously have won), but Bischoff turned down that offer. But this time, they agreed to a more long-term deal. Bischoff didn't know he was going to debut on Raw until just a day or two prior, when Vince called him and told him to be there. The whole thing was kept secret and almost no one other than Vince himself knew about it. This is believed to be a unique contract, in which it's a short-term deal with the option to renew it for longer-term if the angle gets over. His only role is as a television character, it's strictly a performance contract. Bischoff is not going to be a part of management or creative.
When Bischoff walked across the screen in the backstage segment, almost everyone in the company was just as shocked as the viewers at home. Bischoff's debut saw him come out and hug Vince, which Dave thinks about is the dumbest possible way to introduce him. Sure, the Invasion angle is over but WCW's corpse isn't completely cold yet. It's only been a year or so. There is probably still plenty of money to be made in Bischoff as an outsider trying to destroy Vince McMahon and the WWE. But as always, that would involve Vince allowing himself or WWE to look vulnerable against an "outsider" and his utter refusal to do that is a big part of what tanked the Invasion. But that's par for the course. Bischoff cut a promo, giving the fake "WWE version" of the Monday Night Wars history (Dave points out multiple inaccuracies that WWE still clings on today, such as claiming they stole Hulk Hogan from WWF. Of course, Hulk had been in NJPW and hadn't worked for WWF for nearly a year at the time WCW signed him. Things like that.). Dave thinks it became one of those promos full of old stuff or inside references where so much of it is about things that the average fan doesn't know or care about. Dave thinks most of this audience in 2002 isn't familiar with Alundra Blayze, they don't know Raw used to be taped instead of live, and they don't care about 83-week TV ratings streaks (Dave also notes that Bischoff said 84 on this show, which is incorrect). And once again, it became one of those promos talking about how much WWE sucks lately, which is something you don't want to keep pointing out to the fans who are still watching because you just make them feel dumb for supporting something that even the people producing it knows sucks. Shit like that is partly what drove off WCW fans. Bischoff also gloated about almost putting WWE out of business, and to the many guys in the locker room who remember that vividly, it wasn't a joke or a storyline. Those are guys who really were fighting for their job against a guy who really was trying to put them out of business. Bischoff has tremendous heat from the locker room, with a lot of people who worked for him in WCW or who resent him from the WWE side....they don't want Bischoff there.
This angle was going to take place regardless, but it's thought that the injury to Kevin Nash may have moved things up a couple of weeks because Vince once again panicked when his plans went down in flames. Nash had surgery last week. Because of the location of the tear, it's not quite as serious as the tear Triple H suffered last year. But Nash is also 10 years older. However, he has vowed to return, noting he doesn't want his career to end like that. With his age and his track record of injuries (this is his 22nd surgery, dating back to his collegiate basketball days), Dave isn't sure how much Nash will be able to offer if/when he returns next year. Also, while nobody wanted Nash to get hurt, the mood in the locker room was said to be much happier this week without him around, as the whole Nash/X-Pac/Shawn/Triple H group isn't very well liked these days (the more things change...)
Speaking of X-Pac, a weird situation with him this week led to him being suspended by WWE. The day of the Raw when Nash tore his quad, X-Pac missed his flight to the show. Why? Well, he was hospitalized earlier that day in Minneapolis. Again, you ask, why? No idea. Sounds like X-Pac sure would like to know also. He called WWE saying he was in the emergency room and had no idea how he got there. He left the ER and made new travel arrangements and he got to Raw 90 minutes before the show started. And then he went out there that night and worked his match (and Dave says looked more impressive than he had in a long time). However, after the match, he still couldn't explain to WWE officials how or why he was in the hospital earlier that day and so they were naturally suspicious. As a result, X-Pac has been suspended and removed from all upcoming bookings until they get a medical report on what the deal is. Dave says X-Pac has been acting out of control for weeks now and it's been well-documented (threatening to quit if match finishes weren't changed week after week). The feeling backstage was that as long as Nash was around to go to bat for him, he was basically protected, but no longer. With Hall fired, Nash out for probably a year, X-Pac suspended, and Hogan a babyface, the feeling within the company is that the NWO angle is dead. Shawn Michaels is still expected to appear at upcoming house shows and Raws in some new role, since much of the advertising for those shows was based around him appearing, but this is probably the end of the road for the NWO. (This kinda flew under the radar, but yeah, X-Pac never wrestled another match in WWE. The match where Nash tore his quad remains to this day the last time X-Pac ever worked a match in a WWE ring. He gets released soon after this and we all know in retrospect that he was dealing with some drug issues throughout this time).
Dave provides some details on Vince Russo's first (and only) creative meeting when he was briefly rehired by WWE last month. Russo apparently proposed a Raw vs. Smackdown feud that would eventually lead to reviving one of them as WCW and reigniting the WCW vs. WWE war. This time, they would have Eric Bischoff leading the WCW side, while Russo suggested Mick Foley as the leader of the WWE side. It was pretty much made clear to Russo during the meeting that if they were to do a Raw vs. Smackdown angle, it would be Stephanie in charge of the WWE side, not Foley, and sure enough, that's what is expected to happen (but without the whole WCW-revival part). Russo's idea was pretty much a combination of the 2001 Invasion angle and the 2000 WCW Bischoff/Russo angle. Dave notes that Russo wanted to essentially start from scratch again, strip everyone of their belts the way they did in 2000, and bring in Bret Hart and Goldberg to be involved as well.
A big recap of UFC's debut show in England, which featured rising star Frank Mir getting beat in what should have been an upset, but word is Mir didn't take the fight seriously and barely trained. As a result, he got murked in the first round. Also, while in England, some people in Tito Ortiz's camp got into a big drunken bar brawl with fellow fighter Lee Murray. Chuck Liddell was somewhere involved too. Anyway, long story short, some people tell the story that Murray knocked Ortiz out. Ortiz denies it (to this day, this is a famous MMA story and both men tell different versions, so depending on who you believe I guess).
TNA's 4th show ended with a strong angle that actually got them some national publicity. It involved Tennessee Titans players Frank Miller and Zach Piller hopping the rail and attacking Jeff Jarrett and some other wrestlers, resulting in a big brawl to end the show. So how much of it was real or shoot? Well, Russo is involved, so who knows. The official story is that Jarrett and Piller were supposed to shove each other from across the rail, but that's it. From NFL sources, Dave has actually heard the same thing. It was supposed to stop at a shoving confrontation, and then Malice would come pull Jarrett away. That was the story as Russo allegedly wrote it. But reportedly, Piller had been drinking and he ended up hopping the rail and straight up overpowered Jarrett like it was nothing and took him down. Whether this was a shoot or a work is still unknown, but it ended up getting them coverage on SportsCenter and Dave says it's possible it was a work that only a few people were in on. If it was a work, nobody else was in on it. Ron Harris, who works backstage, almost rushed to the ring to save Jarrett and Malice (who wasn't supposed to touch the football players) got involved and broke it up quickly. After the show, the players were backstage laughing and joking with Jarrett and Miller has been openly telling people it was all planned and they were told to make it look as real as possible, but it's still unknown if jumping the rail and tackling Jarrett was part of the plan or not. Several other Titans players were at ringside with them and saw it unfold, but mostly didn't get involved. So now after the publicity, TNA is trying to see if they can make a match out of this. Either way, it's starting to feel like an elaborate work that none of the rest of the roster was clued in on, which is exactly the kind of shit Russo used to do constantly in WCW that soured morale among the locker room, and for this to happen on Russo's first night in, with an angle he wrote, sure feels a little familiar.
Puerto Rico's IWA had its most successful show in company history, drawing more than 11,000 fans (without a single WWE name on the card) to see the payoff of an angle with Savio Vega fighting for control of the company. WHO SAID SAVIO AIN'T A DRAW?!
On the other side of things, WWC has postponed its anniversary show from August to September in order to give themselves more time to build up big angles and storylines. Seems like something they probably should have been planning earlier? IWA has become the dominant promotion in Puerto Rico and WWC felt they didn't have the build-up necessary to do a big-money show right now. Especially after this IWA show did such big business, anything less would be an embarrassment.
Bischoff's debut on Raw was a pretty big hit. How big, you ask? During Bischoff's in-ring promo after his debut, Raw added nearly 1.1 million new viewers from the previous segment. Meaning that as soon as Bischoff walked across the screen backstage, tons of wrestling fans started calling their friends telling them, "Holy shit, Eric Bischoff is on Raw, turn it on!" The bad news is that as soon as Bischoff's promo was over, a lot of them tuned right back out, leading to a huge drop-off for the rest of the show. On the flip side, this week's Smackdown, featuring the heavily-hyped return of The Rock ended up being the 7th lowest rated episode of the show in history (4th if you don't count holidays). Rock's not a draw, bet he won't even be in the business in a couple more years.
Kenta Kobashi is finally back in the ring, wrestling undercard prelim tag matches for NOAH. Even though he's in tags and doing limited in-ring work, his knees are said to be already killing him and one of them totally locked up on him after one of his recent matches. But he still hasn't missed any dates.
NJPW announced that Kensuke Sasaki will face Pancrase star Minoru Suzuki at the Tokyo Dome in October. This match was actually planned for the big Tokyo Dome show back in May, but negotiations fell apart because Pancrase didn't like the idea of Suzuki doing a worked pro-wrestling match. Suzuki started his career in NJPW back in 1988 and was being groomed to be a big star for the company, but he quit and joined UWF because he preferred to work shoot-style matches. In 1993, he and a few other guys all started Pancrase, which he's been doing ever since. These days, Suzuki's days of fighting for them at a top level are over and he usually only competes against nobodies or in catch wrestling (grappling and submission only, no striking). Anyway, for those curious, this didn't happen. Not sure why yet, I haven't gotten that far, but Suzuki doesn't return to NJPW until 2003.
Goldberg is said to be leaning very much against going to WWE anytime soon and is instead eyeing his options of working big shows in Japan. He's contemplating an offer to make an appearance at Toryumon's show in Tokyo in September, but only an appearance. He doesn't plan to wrestle until later in the year (don't think the Toryumon appearance happens, but he does end up working a few matches in Japan here soon).
Bret Hart is still hoping to make his scheduled appearance for Jacques Rougeau's upcoming indie show in Montreal. If you recall, Rougeau's big show there last year drew over 11,000 fans and he's got himself another big stadium to fill this year and Bret was expected to be the biggest draw. Whether he'll be healthy enough to make the show, following his recent stroke, remains to be seen but he's determined to try. As of this week, Hart is able to lift his left arm over his head. Just a week ago, he couldn't move it at all. His grip strength is also coming back and he's able to walk short distances. His vocal cords were also damaged but have started strengthening again and he's able to talk again (though he can't cut a wrestling promo yet, Dave says, so he might not be doing much other than coming out and waving to the crowd if he does make it). He's still having some vision problems also, but not too bad all things considered.
Dave says that "no matter what you may hear," a lot of people involved in TNA behind the scenes are very unhappy about Vince Russo being brought in. He also says that a lot of people associate Russo and Ed Ferrara together, but they actually had a major falling out awhile back and hadn't been on speaking terms until now. When it became clear Russo was coming back, Ferrara reached out to Russo and the two sides made up. He goes on record saying for sure that neither Mike Tenay or Bill Behrens are happy about Russo's arrival, among others, but says everyone is being professional.
Notes from TNA Weekly PPV: Crowd of about 1,500, only about half paid. Dave says it was easily the best of the 4 shows they've had so far. About 85% of it was written and booked by Jerry Jarrett and the original writing team before Russo was hired, but Russo did make some changes. Dave says some people are beginning to get tired of Don West on commentary already and he definitely brings a ton of enthusiasm (but nothing else, Dave adds) to the table. During the Ken Shamrock vs. Omori match, the crowd was distracted by one of the cage dancers near the entrance who was apparently showing her ass to the crowd. Former WCW wrestler Crowbar (real name Chris Ford) worked a tag match under the name Tempest and Dave notes that when Ford worked a try-out match for WWE awhile back, he also signed over the name Crowbar to them when he did (guessing Dave is mistaken about this. He never used the name Crowbar in TNA, but he's been using it everywhere else ever since for the last 18 years). Brian Christopher is now going by his real name, Brian Lawler, and cut a promo on Jerry Lawler about being a bad father. It got a lot of heat but now they've made fans want to see a match that they can't deliver. K-Krush faced NASCAR driver Hermie Sadler and got DQ'd. Dave says Krush was absolutely awesome here, actually carrying Sadler to a watchable match. Sadler was awful of course, but the Gayda/Stratus match from Raw was light years worse, so hey, who cares? TNA tried to bring in Hermie's more famous older brother Elliott Sadler, but that fell through because Elliott has some type of affiliation with WWE, though Dave isn't sure what (I did the research and apparently Elliott drove a Summerslam-themed car during a race around this time, so I assume that's it).
More notes from TNA Weekly PPV, since this recap is huge and big, unbroken paragraphs suck: Mark and Jay Brisco worked a brief match until Malice ran in and destroyed everyone (Dave says this was a Russo addition to the show. Dave also says the Briscos will be great some day and notes that on this show, the announcers lied and said both of them are 18, when in fact, Mark Brisco is still 17 and therefore not even allowed to wrestle in many commission states). Former porn star and ECW valet Jasmine St. Claire debuted and gave Jeremy Borash a lap dance, took off her underwear, and was about to strip nude until a big angle stopped it. And yes, in case it wasn't obvious, this was another Russo addition. AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn are the tag team champions and ended up in a big brawl backstage. If you've been paying attention to the show the last 2 weeks, you would have recognized that they were doing a slow build with these two partners having friction, but Russo convinced Jarrett to hurry up and pull the trigger on the split, so here we are. Dave thinks this had no impact at all because it felt completely rushed, the story hadn't progressed far enough yet for these two to already be coming to blows. Another interview with the Dupps saying "shit" repeatedly was, yes, another Russo addition. Try not to cut yourself on all this edginess. Shamrock vs. NOAH star Takao Omori ended in a no contest because of politics. Shamrock was supposed to win clean, but then NOAH decided they didn't want Omori to do a job, so this is what we got. Dave thinks TNA should have said screw them then and just not used Omori because it's not like TNA's fanbase knows who the fuck he is anyway. Omori was said to have been spaced out all day beforehand and looked bad in the match. Crowd didn't care and they pumped in a ton of fake crowd noise for it. Jeff Jarrett ran in and took everyone out with chair shots, including "NWA rep" Harley Race, who ate a brutal unprotected chair shot to the head from Jeff and Dave thinks that's not good for anyone's brain, especially a guy pushing 60. Race was there basically to help Omori since Harley's small promotion in St. Louis has a relationship with NOAH. And finally, the 6-man X-Division #1 contenders match was excellent. Dave thinks WWE really missed the boat on Jerry Lynn and K-Krush. He admits Lynn probably couldn't have ever been a top guy in WWE or anything, but he makes everybody he wrestles look like a million bucks and guys like that are priceless to have on your roster. They also pumped a bunch of crowd noise in for this match, and at one point, the fake crowd noise loop stopped and there was a moment where it went from a loud roaring crowd to dead silence in a blink. Also, a fight in the stands distracted the crowd near the end. But great match otherwise. Show ended with the Titans players angle.
In other news, The Shane Twins have been working as the masked penis wrestlers The Johnsons in TNA but the penis aspect of it has been played down to almost nothing. Upcoming plans were for the team to unmask and revert back to the Shane Twins, but when Russo came aboard, that plan got scrapped and they will remain The Johnsons for now. Because dammit, Russo will get to make penis jokes on TV or he's going to die trying.
Many of the key names in TNA (Shamrock, AJ Styles, Jerry Lynn, Mike Tenay, among others) have now signed 1-year contracts. Scott Hall was rumored to have also signed a 1-year deal, but Hall is telling people it's not true and he's only committed for 4 more dates. Low-Ki is signed through the end of the year.
At the recent K-1 vs. PRIDE show, there was a huge upset when PRIDE fighter Quinton Jackson knocked out Cyril Abidi, one of the top kickboxers in the world. The "plan" was for Abidi to win and then go on to a bigger money match with Don Frye, but that's what happens when you try to plan things around a shoot.
And I'm sorry, I know this ain't an MMA recap, but this is too good: at the UFC press conference for the UK show this week, Dana White showed up with a bag filled with $250,000 in cash and challenged UK boxing promoter Frank Warren to put up any fighter in his stable and White would find a UFC fighter of the same weight to fight him, winner takes all the money. If you recall, Warren made some statements a few weeks back calling UFC fighters unskilled steroid freaks and claiming that his boxers could beat any of them in a real fight. So Dana showed up with a whole bag of cash, doing Dana things.
Notes from Raw: Vince came out to the NWO music and said that's the last time we'll ever hear it and that the NWO is dead, so as expected, that's it for that gimmick. Tommy Dreamer is back to his old ECW gimmick and is already 1000x more over than the jobber-eating-gross-stuff gimmick WWE gave him. There was a Coach/Booker T segment backstage which is when Eric Bischoff walked through the shot, leaving everybody with their mouths hanging open, and then his promo. Another hype video for Rey Mysterio debuting on Smackdown next week. Former WCW wrestler and recent developmental guy Johnny The Bull made his Raw debut winning the hardcore title, and Dave is baffled how he got the call up because he's one of the worst guys they have in developmental and is nowhere near ready. But it's all about how he looks. Undertaker & Lesnar beat RVD & Flair in the main event and afterward, Lesnar turned on Undertaker in a good angle, though Dave doesn't have high hopes for the inevitable match.
Notes from Smackdown: it was a pretty bad show and for a pretty surprising reason. It was all built around Rock and he was awful. Rather than trying to sell a PPV, he came off like he was trying too hard to be a funny, "cool" guy and became a parody of himself. Dave is a huge Rock fan and thinks it was painful. He did a big in-ring promo segment with rapper Busta Rhymes that was just an elaborate plug for his new Halloween: Resurrection movie ("coming out in July?" Dave asks incredulously and, right, wtf?). Even Rock using Angle's own ankle lock against him at the end of the show looked hilariously fake and Dave has no interest in the Rock/Angle match at Vengeance after this show. Edge & Hogan defending the tag titles was a super heated match and Dave can't understand it. The live crowds are still nuclear hot for Hogan, but it's not translating at all into TV ratings or ticket sales. But man, the people who do buy tickets sure do love him. They seem to be slow-burning a Randy Orton heel turn. The Nidia segment at the buffet was great and Dave thinks they may have stumbled across a pretty great gimmick with her.
The crew got a little backstage pep talk before Raw this week, mostly given by the agents (John Laurinaitis, Arn Anderson, and Fit Finlay) as well as Triple H. In particular, Triple H talked about there being too many people in the locker room who think they deserve a push ahead of the newer guys because they've been there longer. He said too many guys are sitting back waiting for someone to give them a push rather than breaking out from the pack and earning the push. He said he got over on his own when management was trying to hold him down after the MSG curtain call incident. Said too many guys are being lazy, playing cards and playing video games backstage rather than watching the matches and learning. He said just because you've had a few good matches on TV doesn't mean you know how to work or deserve a push, and also said everyone needs to work harder at house shows because attendance is down and it was guys like him who worked hard to re-build the company the last time business was down. Needless to say, for a locker room full of people who feel like they bust their asses only to get their legs cut off and hit a glass ceiling (often at the hands of the same guy giving the speech), this went over just about as well as you'd expect with the rest of the locker room. Not that anything Triple H said is wrong. Dave agrees with most of it. But considering who the messenger was, it was not well-received.
Lots of backstage talk about last week's Bradshaw/Trish Stratus vs. Chris Nowinski/Jackie Gayda match, which was among the worst matches anyone has seen in years. Fit Finlay is the usual trainer and agent for the women and usually goes over their matches and spots with them, but in this case, Sgt. Slaughter put together this match. Gayda missed a few spots early in the match and seemed to panic and it all fell apart from there. Backstage, she was fully aware of how bad it was and was said to be extremely upset. There's been talk of sending her down to OVW for more training, but she'll probably still be on TV because she's fresh off winning Tough Enough.
Steve Austin hasn't had any contact with anyone in WWE except for Jack Lanza, who was the agent Austin often worked with for his matches. All that's known now is Austin told Lanza he's still training hard and Lanza felt like he's getting antsy sitting at home and may be ready to return already (I think he's got bigger problems at home). But Austin and Vince still have not spoken and there's still a lot of bad feelings there.
In light of recent events, Dave digs up the transcript from an old Prodigy online chat from 1996, in which Eric Bischoff was asked if he would ever work for Vince McMahon. His response: "I would rather chew off my fingers."
Writer Brian Gewertz reportedly has some heat over Raw's declining ratings. The problem is, no matter who it is (Gewertz, Heyman, Russo, or even Stephanie), the final approval for everything you see on television comes down to Vince McMahon. He deserves the credit when it's good and the blame when it's bad, end of story. It's a common occurrence for Vince to rip up a script and tell the writers to come up with something new, so any bad segment that makes it to TV is on him, and resulting in lots of last minute changes. Some people are even blaming Gewertz for Kevin Nash's recent injury because Gewertz wrote the match into the script the day of the show, so Nash wasn't even aware he was going to be wrestling until a couple hours before they went on the air and I guess he didn't have time to properly stretch and get ready, and ended up tearing his quad 10 seconds in. Same thing with Cena's debut, that was a day-of decision, and luckily Cena was already on the road with the crew working dark matches, so he was available. But again, Dave says you can't blame Gewertz for either of those things because, once again, it's Vince who is constantly changing his mind and forcing last minute rewrites and whatnot every week. How is Gewertz or any other writer supposed to build long-term stories under those conditions? (Man, this sure feels familiar)
Latest on DDP, he and wife Kimberly are planning on moving from Atlanta to Los Angeles to try their hand at acting careers. They've both saved a lot of money from their years in wrestling and can afford to take a chance on this kind of thing I guess. (DDP has done a handful of acting roles, mostly in the mid-00s, but obviously nothing of note. And Kimberly Page did a few movies, including a starring role with DDP in a movie called The Scam Artist that I can't find anywhere, and of course, her most famous role as "chick who's tit fell out" in The 40 Year Old Virgin).
Randy Orton suffered a concussion in a house show match with Batista. Orton was trying to sell a clothesline by flying in the air and taking a big flat back bump, but hit his head on the mat coming down and was knocked unconscious. He should be back in a week or so though, because it's not like concussions are serious injuries or anything. EMT's helped him out of the ring and he walked to the back under his own power but he was knocked clean the fuck out for a bit there.
This week's episode of WWE Confidential featured Big Show and Bradshaw playing a game of HORSE with the winner "getting a shot to sexually harass Linda Miles." So obviously they're out of ideas for this show. (Yeah JBL is on some full-blown Jerry Lawler shit with Miles here).
John Cena is still finishing up in OVW and working the upcoming big Six Flags show in Louisville. Despite being a big babyface on TV, he's still a heel in OVW and is playing a gimmick where his main roster success is going to his head.
The New York Daily News ran a story on the "Sex, Lies & Headlocks" book that is coming out soon about Vince McMahon and noted several revelations in the book, such as Vince being paranoid about his office being bugged in 1993 prior to the steroid trial and how he wouldn't sit or talk near windows because he thought the FBI was listening in. It also talked about how Vince gave a job interview to Matt Lauer to host the WBF Bodystars show but didn't think Lauer had the right look, among other things. When asked for comment, WWE responded "No one in WWE has any interest in reading it. No one cares to." Dave says that's 2002 carny talk for, "Can you get us an advance copy?"
NEXT WEDNESDAY:Raw appears to turn a corner (lol no), WWE making major cutbacks and severing developmental ties, TNA also making major budget cuts, WWE Vengeance fallout, and more...
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUSLY:
Bret Hart was seriously injured in a bicycle accident in Calgary last week. As of press time, Dave has very little info. Hart was thrown off the bike and flipped over the handlebars going at a high speed and landed on his back and hit the back of his head. Over the next couple of days, he's undergone a number of tests due to issues he's had since the accident. Bret was forced to retire 2 years ago after he suffered a serious concussion during the Starrcade 99 match with Goldberg and it's believed the fall may have aggravated the issues he's had since then. Hart is expected to be hospitalized for at least a week and has little movement on the left side of his body and can't see out of his right eye. He's also suffering severe back pain, though x-rays and scans haven't shown any physical damage to his back. That's all Dave knows right now. (Much more on this next week, obviously).
After a year of questionable decision-making, Vince McMahon made his most questionable decision yet when he announced the surprise re-hiring of Vince Russo. It's a shocking decision for lots of obvious reasons, not the least of which is most of the wrestlers either outright don't like him or at the very least, don't respect him. And many front office employees feel even more strongly about him. Not even Stephanie McMahon, who is the head of creative, knew Russo was coming back and she was just as blindsided by the news as everyone else. It's believed the deal has been in the works for a few weeks. Russo had owned a CD store in Marietta, GA but he sold the store recently. He also stopped submitting ideas to the Jarretts for TNA a couple of weeks ago. There's also the fact that Russo's lawsuit against Hulk Hogan over the Bash at the Beach 2000 incident is still pending and now they're in the same company again, although Dave suspects the legal issues must be wrapped up for Russo to take the job (Turner was still paying his legal fees so long as he didn't work for any other wrestling company, which is why everyone was denying his involvement with TNA). Another rumor going around is that Russo is planning to write a tell-all book about his time in WWF and when word about that got out, the company rehired him in an effort to squash the book. Dave thinks that might be believable if Russo was just hired and stuck in a closet somewhere. But he was brought back in a key position in the creative department, which means that likely wasn't the reason (or not a big part of it). Most likely, it's exactly what it appears on the surface: Vince McMahon is getting desperate and he's going back to what worked in the past.
When word got out about Russo's hiring, needless to say, everyone was shocked and, as you'd expect, it was an overwhelmingly negative reaction. The plan for Russo on day one was for him to be in control of the creative team, answering only to Stephanie McMahon. The next day, those plans changed after McMahon, Russo, Stephanie, and the rest of the writing team had a big meeting. There's been multiple stories about what happened during the meeting. One version of the story is that Russo's ideas were so bad that he pretty much buried himself with everyone immediately. Another version is that Stephanie pretty much buried all his ideas and shut him down. And yet another version is that Russo obviously hadn't kept up with the product and was unfamiliar and out of touch with many of the characters and ongoing storylines, and that soured Vince McMahon on him. Regardless, the result was the same: the very next day, Russo was no longer part of the creative team. Word is he has already been sent home and will be brought back if/when they need ideas, as sort of a consultant on retainer. Officially, his role now is to critique the TV shows and report back to Vince McMahon what he thinks. So he's basically paid to be a critic and tell McMahon how he would do it better. Anyway, that's the story for now. Dave runs down Russo's history in the business, how he came into power in WWF, jumping ship to WCW with no notice, where he proceeded to help kill the company and all the drama that happened there (can't wait for that one Vince Russo superfan that always accuses me of lying about him to chime in on this one).
For the record, one of Russo's big ideas for TNA's debut was taking the Shane Twins and dressing them up as giant penises and calling them the Big Johnsons. Thankfully, when the show aired, the announcers downplayed the "penis" aspect of it a lot, leading Russo to tell friends that the idea flopped because the commentators didn't sell it hard enough. Just in case you're wondering what Vince Russo is bringing to the table in 2002.
WWE's King of the Ring is in the books. For the first time since Wrestlemania, it was a legit sellout on PPV. And sucks for them because this was a pretty blah show. Undertaker retained the WWE title over Triple H in a bad match that was hampered because Undertaker is banged up in general and Triple H came into the match with an elbow injury. 2 days after the show, he underwent elbow surgery to remove bone chips, one of which was embedded in cartilage and had caused his arm to lock up. He was nowhere near 100% during the match, but if he had been, Dave suspects they probably would have put the belt back on him. But for now, they stuck with Undertaker. They did a post match angle to set up Rock vs. Undertaker vs. Triple H at Vengeance, assuming Triple H is ready by then (he was not).
The biggest story of the PPV, in Dave's opinion anyway, is the Kurt Angle/Hulk Hogan match, in which Angle beat Hogan clean as a sheet by submission. Dave gives Hogan credit: he didn't treat this like Kidman. Hogan put Angle over as strong as he possibly could. Dave believes it's the first time in Hogan's entire career that he lost via submission as a babyface. He did have a few submission losses as a heel (once to Inoki in NJPW in 1981 and a handful in WCW during the NWO era) but that's it. If he had any as a babyface, it would have been before 1979, before he was a national name. Whether this ultimately springboards Angle into a certified top guy that fans take seriously remains to be seen, but Hogan did everything he could. Probably didn't help that, as soon as the match was over, Angle put his goofy wig back on, at a moment that should have been used to turn him into a serious threat. But regardless, nobody can fault Hogan here if it doesn't get over.
Other notes from the PPV: Jericho vs. RVD in the opening match was easily the best match on the show. Lesnar got loud "Goldberg" chants and Dave thinks he sold way too much for Test, especially since the rumor is Lesnar is being groomed for a Summerslam main event with Rock. Nidia in her hillbilly gimmick with Jamie Noble was great and Dave thinks they might have something with Nidia and this gimmick. Ric Flair vs. Eddie Guerrero was.....not what you'd think. Dave has seen Flair drag talentless hacks to great matches for 20 years but somehow, Flair vs. Guerrero was a drag and should have been better than it was considering the two men involved. Two all-time greats just had a misfire somehow. Molly won the women's title from Trish and Dave thinks this whole storyline where they claim Molly is fat is insulting to probably every single female viewer they have and a lot of the males too. A backstage segment with Rock, Goldust, and Booker T was the most entertaining thing on the show. Lesnar won the King of the Ring tournament by beating RVD in a nothing match. And of course, the main event, which was an overbooked mess with two guys who probably didn't have any business wrestling that night anyway.
NWA-TNA's debut show is in the books! Actually, so is their second show because it was a double-taping. And buckle in because we have a metric fuck-ton of TNA news to cover. Overall, it was a well-received debut. A lot of the young wrestlers were hungry and some of the old guys worked like they had something to prove. Guys like Konnan and Buff Bagwell looked the best they have in years and many of the people who worked the show said this felt like the real deal (many of those same people had worked the recent WWA shows and saw those as paid vacations, nobody took it seriously). Scott Hall, said to be the highest paid wrestler in the company ($3,500 per week) didn't do anything special but he got by far the biggest reaction and, according to all accounts, was sober and professional. There were about 3,000 fans in the building, but only 400-500 were paid. More than 10,000 freebies were given away around Birmingham the week of the show, but the crowd they got was actually a good, active audience, so it worked. Mike Tenay on commentary was great and full of knowledge, though Ed Ferrara playing heel announcer was useless. Don West was enthusiastic as hell, but knew nothing about the product. Regardless, he knows how to work a camera and he took charge of the commentary booth and Dave thinks he did fine in the role and will only get better. Ricky Steamboat was there, giving an emotional interview and putting over the NWA title. Ken Shamrock won the gauntlet battle royal (basically the same thing as a Royal Rumble match) to win the title, beating Malice (former WCW wrestler The Wall) in the final match after they were the last 2 left in the battle royal. There's been talk of doing a Shamrock vs. Don Frye match to try to catch some of that crossover UFC/PRIDE audience, but Dave is doubtful it'll be a draw here like it is in Japan.
What else? Country music star Toby Keith did a series of angles with Jeff Jarrett and Keith was by far the biggest star to the live fans. Keith got involved in the battle royal and eliminated Jarrett. NASCAR drivers Hermie Sadler and Sterling Martin got involved in a racial angle with K-Krush (R-Truth) using a bunch of "your kind" and "my kind" talk and Dave thinks that was pretty pathetic. The company was hoping all this celebrity involvement would get them some mainstream publicity but it got practically none. They brought in a bunch of women, most of whom were total unknowns except for ECW's Francine, Electra, and former WCW valet Daffney under the name Shannon, and their battle royal on the second show was said to be awful. The whole event definitely had a southern/regional feel to it. The opening match of Jerry Lynn, AJ Styles, and Low-Ki vs. Jorge Estra, Sonny Siaki, and Jimmy Yang was the show-stealer and was better than most of the matches in WWE this year.
Now the bad news: TNA was under the impression they had Dish Network cleared to air their show, but no dice. They don't have Cablevision in the U.S. either. For a company that needs to draw 50,000 buys a week to break even without a corporate sponsor, that's extremely bad news. They're also losing their Canadian PPV after the response to the debut show was said to be lackluster. At press time, InDemand has allegedly told TNA that their debut show did 80,000 buys but preliminary numbers are always drastically higher than the final result, so it'll almost certainly be less than that (for example, InDemand's number for WWA's first PPV was originally 40,000 but later got revised to 15,000). In WWE, they don't take any PPV numbers seriously at first because the thought is any numbers you hear within the first 2 months of the show are always wrong, the final tallies take time to come in. Regardless, even if this show did well, the more important question is how will they be doing in 4-5 weeks when the new has worn off?
Despite TNA claiming they aren't even interested in TV and are 100% committed to running exclusively on PPV, that's obviously not true. They have already struck syndication deals in Nashville and Chattanooga and are actively working to get a national television deal. The problem is that, as you can tell by looking at WWE ratings over the last year, the business is in a sharp decline, meaning the TV industry isn't chomping at the bit to give TV deals to some new startup nobody company. But anyone who understands the industry knows they have no chance of surviving on weekly PPV alone so getting on TV sooner than later is going to be essential to TNA's survival. The local syndicated deals they struck will mostly be hype shows with interviews and highlights designed to drive viewers to buy the weekly PPVs. Dave lists, like, 10 different promotions that have folded over the years in part due to the costs of paying for television.
Tons of TNA news in this issue which brings us to the debut "Random TNA News & Notes" section! Here we go: Bert Prentice will be working with the company and will no longer be running his own weekly shows in Nashville. There will be a one-night tournament at the next show to crown NWA tag team champions. Fun fact, those belts are currently held by The Shane Twins, who now wrestle in TNA as The Johnsons, doing the aforementioned masked penis gimmick. They'll be in the tournament even though they were already the champs in their previous gimmick. But the titles are being vacated and they will crown new ones.
We ain't done with TNA news. The dark match of the show featured a 450 pound dude named Cheex who is basically ripping off Rikishi's gimmick of doing things with his big ol' ass. And in case the ass gimmick and the "Cheex" name wasn't clear enough, he's being managed by a woman named Brown Eye Girl. So....yeah. If this ain't Vince Russo, I'll eat my shoe. Anyway, during the dark match, because Cheex is so big, the ring broke. As the show was going on the air live, the ring crew was frantically struggling to fix the ring, which is why it felt like they were stalling so much for the first 15 minutes. Because they were. The ring breaking also caused them to not be able to do the second dark match they had planned. Both matches were being taped to air on next week's show.
Actual notes from TNA's debut show (I'm gonna divide this into multiple paragraphs because there's a lot): it opened with some pyro, which is meant to make them look major league, but everyone else always looks minor league compared to WWE's huge pyro show every week and this was no exception. No graphics or details on any of the wrestlers, which is a mistake considering so many of them are complete unknowns to most fans. Started with a bunch of legends coming out to put over the NWA title, including Ricky Steamboat cutting one of the best promos of the year in any promotion and Dave thinks they need to hire Steamboat and put him in an on-air role as a commissioner or something ASAP. Jeff Jarrett cut a promo saying it was stupid to crown a new champion in a battle royal. Way to bury your own main event 10 minutes into your debut show, especially since most people also agree that it's a pretty dumb way to do it. But they still did. Then Ken Shamrock and Scott Hall came out and they both cut promos and they also shat on the battle royal idea, leading Dave to worry already that this company hasn't learned anything from WCW's mistakes. As mentioned earlier, the opening match easily stole the show. Next up was a little person match, with the jobber actually being referred to as "an enhancement midget." The Shane Twins did the penis gimmick, but as mentioned, it was severely played down from the original idea as conceived by Russo.
More notes from the show: They brought out a bunch of women for a big segment and Dave, who spends his entire life watching wrestling, didn't know half of them. And even if he did, it wouldn't matter because there were no graphics to name any of them and even if there had been, the cameras were often showing the wrong woman when a name was announced. Anyway, among them were Francince from ECW (who Dave is worried about because she looked sickly thin), Shannon (formerly Daffney in WCW), Alexis Laree (better known years later as Mickie James), Elektra from ECW, Taylor Vaugn (formerly Barbara Bush in WWF), Erin (who was a finalist on Tough Enough season 1 but got booted from the show before production started because other contestants saw her out on a date with one of the judges and they complained and got her kicked off), and some others. At least one of the no-name chicks was a stripper they hired specifically for this show because they needed one more woman to make 10. Anyway, this all led to the expected brawl with Elektra getting her shirt ripped off to show her bra. It wasn't even that risque. If you're trying to use sex appeal to draw viewers, the worst thing you can do is be less risque than WWE is on free TV when you have the luxury of PPV (give em a few months and we'll get actual nudity on this show). Alicia Webb, formerly known in WWF as Ryan Shamrock (and who is dating Ken Shamrock in real life) was playing a prostitute collecting money from referee Mark Johnson.
Even more notes from the show: the NASCAR guys got a bigger pop than any of the wrestlers. K-Krush came out to confront them about not being real athletes and they did the racial angle. Brian Christopher got involved and funny story there, they were debating whether to use the last name Christopher, or his real last name of Lawler. Nobody told the announcers which it was gonna be so Mike Tenay kept using "Christopher" while Ed Ferrara kept using "Lawler." More WCW-level shit. Toby Keith performed. The gauntlet battle royal to crown the new champion featured Buff Bagwell, Prince Justice (later becomes Abyss), Konnan, Rick Steiner, Scott Hall, Jeff Jarrett, etc. Toby Keith ran in and suplexed Jarrett, causing him to get eliminated because why not? Chris Harris, Vampire Warrior, Steve Corino, and more. And when it got down to the last two, it became a regular match and Shamrock beat Malice to win the title with Steamboat as the special referee.
So that's the notes from the debut show. Are we done with TNA yet? Not by a long shot. They taped a whole second show, remember?! It hasn't aired yet so Dave hasn't seen it so here's the scarce details. The crowd started filing out after the first show ended and kept leaving as the second one was going, to the point that Jeremy Borash and Bert Prentice had to get on the mic and beg everyone to stay and then moved a bunch of people to the hard camera side so there wouldn't be visible empty seats all over the place. Lenny Lane and former WCW star Kwee-Wee were put together as a gay tag team called Rainbow Express, managed by Joel Gertner, and kissed each other instead of tagging each other to swap in and out during the match, which got a lot of heat because Alabama. A 9-woman battle royal (guess they didn't let the hired stripper actually work) to crown Miss TNA resulted in a bunch of women getting stripped half naked. They did a 4-way elimination match to crown the X-Division champion which was won by AJ Syles in what was said to be easily the best match of either show, with even Harley Race going on record later to say it was one of the best matches he'd ever seen. But by then, there were very few fans left in the building. And that is finally it for TNA news for now. Whew.
PRIDE's latest show is in the books and once again featured pro wrestlers drawing the crowd. NOAH's Yoshihiro Takayama replaced Mark Coleman in the main event (out due to injury) against Don Frye, leading to last minute interest from wrestling fans that packed the house. Frye defeated Takayama in what many are calling the best fight in the history of PRIDE. Takayama has had 3 fights in PRIDE and has lost all 3 of them, but all 3 of them were also show-stealing outright wars that, despite losing, has grown Takayama into an even bigger star. Afterward, Frye hinted at retiring from MMA and returning to NJPW full time. Dave hasn't seen this fight but it was described to him as "something out of Dragonball Z or a comic book" the way they were just throwing bombs at each other, with the crowd going insane (yeah the opening minute or so if this fight is absolute madness, video below). The show also featured Bob Sapp vs. Kiyoshi Tamura, which was a total mismatch. Tamura is a skilled MMA fighter, but Sapp outweighed him by literally almost 200 pounds and the fight was over in 11 seconds, with Sapp basically murdering him. Dave says it's clear they're trying to turn Sapp into a huge unbeatable monster psychopath and it's working. But Dave thinks it's bullshit to put fighters this mismatched against each other in real shoots. It was funny though because after what happened in Sapp's K-1 fight a few weeks ago, they made some new rules like no knees and no kicking a downed opponent, which is fine. But they also announced other rules for the fight, such as no flying sentons or splashes off the top ropes, which have never been done in an MMA fight and is utterly ridiculous (If Cormier doesn't hit Miocic with a Canadian destroyer at UFC 252 next month, what's even the point?). Another NOAH star, Takashi Suguira, lost a split decision with Daniel Gracie and Suguira had several NOAH wrestlers at ringside cheering him on. And of course, Antonio Inoki came out at intermission and did his catchphrase.
UFC made its TV debut with a half-hour segment on Fox Sports Net's "Best Damn Sports Show Period" which featured a full Robbie Lawler vs. Steve Berger bout, as well as highlights of other fights. "Fear Factor" host Joe Rogan did commentary with Mike Goldberg and Jeff Osbourne. They aired several warnings during the show, but the violence ended up being far less brutal than most average boxing matches. The show drew a strong crowd and there's talk that this may become a regular thing on the network. They also hyped the planned Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock fight for later this year and Dave thinks TNA would be wise to get the NWA title off Shamrock before the fight, because he's going into it as the underdog. Plus, Shamrock would likely not want to risk injury or spend time flying to Nashville every week during the last few weeks of training. Wouldn't be a good look for TNA if Shamrock goes to the octagon with the NWA title belt and gets demolished by Ortiz. Also on the show, Chuck Liddell defeated Vitor Belfort in a war that catapulted Liddell into title contention and he'll likely face the winner of Shamrock/Ortiz sometime down the road.
Dave got his hands on a copy of Shaun Assael's new book "Sex, Lies, and Headlocks: The Real Story of Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation" even though it hasn't been released yet. Review time! The original concept for the book was to chronicle the Monday Night Wars, but just as the book was being finished, the whole business changed and since Vince became the lone survivor, the book was changed to focus on him and the WWF primarily. The book is fair and accurate for the most part. Assael didn't run from any of the controversial stories, but he also didn't sensationalize things to make them seem bigger than they were. If you're a long-time Observer reader, you already know all this stuff and could probably point out details or inconsistencies in the story, but to the average fan who hasn't been following all the behind-the-scenes stuff for the last 20 years, it's sure to be an eye-opener. Anyway, Dave recaps the book in detail, mostly just correcting things that the author got wrong but also acknowledging that this is an early review copy and some of these mistakes will be corrected before it's published and released. Otherwise, he just pokes holes in various myths and stories that are covered. The Observer was credited in the book for being one of the author's sources, specifically in regards to Dave's coverage of the steroid trial (yeah, if you haven't read it, go back and check those out. Dave actually attended the trial and his recap of it is one of the most must-read issues of the Observer in its entire history). The book pretty much ends at the death of WCW, though it does note that business has declined significantly since then. Overall, Dave says it's by far the best book on the real modern history of professional wrestling that he's ever read and is a must-read for any wrestling fan. But it's also too short (288 pages) to really get into all the detail needed to tell so many of these stories. But for what it is, best book of its type that Dave's ever read.
In AAA in Mexico, there's a new guy named Canibal who's gimmick is pulling his opponent's trunks down and biting them on the ass. It's too late. You already read the sentence. You can't un-know that now.
AJPW stars Kaz Hayashi and Kendo Kashin were supposed to be working some shows for AAA at the moment. Fun story, when they arrived in Mexico, nobody from AAA was there to meet them at the airport and nobody they called from the AAA office would answer the phone, so they basically found themselves stranded in Mexico with no idea what to do and unable to speak the language. Dave says the exact same thing happened to Great Sasuke several years ago when he went to Mexico. Anyway, last Dave heard, Hayashi and Kashin were trying to get themselves booked on some indie shows in Mexico so they can get some pictures of them working there to take back to the magazines in Japan (which was the whole reason for their trip) so they're just looking to work one or two shows and then go back home. They can't work for CMLL because that promotion has a business relationship with NJPW.
Last month, AAA held its 10th annual Triplemania show in Los Angeles. Here's the problem though: it was an utter flop, with embarrassing attendance and almost nobody even realizing it happened. So AAA has decided to just pretend it didn't happen and has now scheduled Triplemania X again, this time in Mexico (maybe WWE should do that next year. Since Wrestlemania was pretty much just in an empty warehouse this year, they shouldn't even acknowledge it. Just redo Wrestlemania 36 again next year and pretend it's the first time).
Remember the story a couple months ago about how Invader 1 (the guy who murdered Bruiser Brody) left the WWC promotion? Well, he was scheduled to return this week as a special referee for a Carlos Colon match but it ended up not happening. He said he wanted his return to be a surprise, but the story was already out on the internet that he was coming back. For what it's worth, almost none of the wrestling fans in Puerto Rico have internet (I did the research, only 17.5% of the country had internet access in 2002 and you gotta figure only a fraction of those are wrestling fans, so Dave is likely correct here) so it still would have been a surprise to probably 99% of them. But either way, Invader 1 pulled out of the show over it and still isn't back with the promotion.
Spanky (Brian Kendrick) won a tournament at an indie show in California to get a shot for the Zero-1/UPW unified title. That's not the important part. How it happened is the original guy who was scheduled to win ended up pulling out of the show at the last minute because his pregnant wife was overdue so he stayed behind to be with her. So they made a call to Spanky, who was in Cincinnati. He immediately packed up his car and was on the road 30 minutes after receiving the call. And didn't stop. He drove 30 hours straight, some 2,200 miles, and made it to the venue literally an hour or so before showtime and did the match. That's freakin' dedication (I think he's talked about this in a shoot interview before. Said he masturbated to stay awake and started vomiting uncontrollably halfway through the drive or something, but still made it. Madness.)
AJPW news: there are no truth to the rumors of a WWE/AJPW relationship, which was mentioned last week. Motoko Baba and Tenryu were at WWE's show in Hawaii to take photos for the Japanese magazines to make people think something is up, but there's nothing there. They were just visiting because Johnny Ace got them backstage. Also, the newspapers in Japan have begun reporting that Keiji Muto will take over as AJPW president when Ms. Baba retires, which confirms what Dave has been saying for months.
Kenta Kobashi's first match back for NOAH will be this week at Korakuen Hall. He'll be working undercard tag matches so he won't be doing too much. If you recall, he was out for over a year with knee injuries, had one match in February in which he re-injured himself again and has been out ever since.
Speaking of Korakuen Hall, NJPW's latest show there only drew 1,200 fans, which means the building was only half full. Just in case you're wondering how NJPW is doing in 2002. Not great.
Don Frye did an interview claiming Antonio Inoki is working to put together a match between himself and Mike Tyson. "Nobody is taking that seriously," Dave says.
Speaking of Japanese companies trying to latch on to the WWE train and speaking of lyin' ass Inoki: there have been rumors that Inoki is putting together a relationship with WWE. Not true. Inoki claimed recently that he had met with Vince McMahon about using some of WWE's undercard guys in NJPW and of starting his own promotion in the U.S. Dave says the meeting with Vince never happened and, in fact, the two men haven't gotten along or really even spoken at all in nearly 20 years.
More on Jesse Ventura's decision not to run for re-election as Minnesota governor. Part of the reason may be that the polls are showing he would likely lose the race. Of course, that's what the polls said last time and he shocked the world. But after 4 years in office, his popularity isn't near what it was back then, when he was the exciting outsider. Now the voters have seen what he brings to the table and they don't seem to like it too much. Ventura was already planning to make the announcement, but then the story about his son hosting parties at the governor's mansion broke, and Ventura made the announcement 2 days earlier than he'd planned. Using the criticism that his son has gotten in the media as his excuse for not running provided Ventura a good "out" but he was already planning not to run long before that story happened and the press conference had been scheduled nearly 2 weeks earlier, so take it with a grain of salt. Most likely, he saw the writing on the wall and knew he was going to lose if he ran again.
Notes from the latest Ring of Honor event: it was said to be an incredible show, with guys like Bryan Danielson, Low-Ki, Christopher Daniels, Spanky, Jerry Lynn, AJ Styles, and more all having amazing matches. There was a moment during the show where Scoot Andrews went to hit Christopher Daniels' valet, Lucious. But then he stopped himself and said he'd never hit a woman, but he knew somebody who would. This was a tease to bring out another female wrestler, but the crowd started chanting for Steve Austin. The show drew 450 fans and sold out the building, which is the largest crowd ROH has drawn so far.
Famous St. Louis Cardinal announcer Jack Buck passed away a couple weeks ago and Dave notes that Buck actually had some involvement in wrestling back in the day. He used to do radio broadcasting of Sam Muchnick's shows live for KMOX radio in the 1960s and there's even a picture somewhere out there of Giant Baba picking Buck up and holding him like a baby. (I actually just watched the 30 For 30 documentary on the McGwire/Sosa home run race and they talked about Jack Buck in there. Good times. Anyway, someone find that picture because I'm having no luck).
Sting is scheduled to make an appearance, but not wrestle, at an indie show Harley Race is putting together this week in St. Louis. This will be Sting's first wrestling-related appearance since WCW folded.
In case you're wondering what XPW and Rob Black are up to these days, allow Dave to fill you in. Black is currently doing an angle where he's pretending he had a stroke and he pisses and shits on himself all over TV. They also did a segment where wrestler GQ Money (now a producer for NXT) broke into Black's home and tried to rape his wife until somebody made the save. The next week, they showed Money supposedly raping a girl in the parking lot and leaving her for dead, and the week after, he got sprayed with raw sewage. Now they're building up to a raw sewage match, based on this rape storyline. XPW, folks.
Dave has some more notes on Cody Runnels, the son of Dusty Rhodes who was backstage at WWE's show in Atlanta last week. Cody is a sophomore in high school and placed 6th in the state in amateur wrestling the past year. He also plays football. He was described to Dave as having a similar physical look as Randy Orton, "but with a face like Dusty."
WWA's scheduled tour of Europe has been officially canceled. The German and Switzerland shows had abysmal ticket sales and pretty much had to be canceled. The show in Ireland had more than 4,000 tickets sold and would have been a success, but even so, that one show alone wasn't going to make enough money to offset the cost of the whole tour.
This is actually hilarious. UFC fighter Vitor Belfort and his training partner were in a taxi before the UFC show when a bunch of cops showed up and surrounded the car. Why, you ask? Well the cab driver overheard Belfort and his partner talking about "shooting at the legs" and she got scared, not knowing what they were talking about, and called the police. Seems like they got it all straightened out though.
Rock will be working nearly full-time on TV from now until Summerslam, at which point he's leaving for a few months to go film his next movie. He won't be on every Smackdown, but he'll be on most of them.
Nothing new on the Goldberg/WWE negotiations. Vince McMahon told Goldberg's agents that he will clear his schedule any time Goldberg wants to have a meeting, but Goldberg doesn't seem particularly interested. The fact that WWE rehired Russo probably won't help matters because Goldberg is one of the many who doesn't like Russo.
Shawn Michaels is booked to be in Kevin Nash's corner on upcoming house shows once Nash is cleared to wrestle again. There's still no plans for Shawn to wrestle, but given how depleted the WWE roster is right now, Dave is sure they'll probably start pushing him to sooner than later (Nash ends up getting injured again almost immediately, so I don't think Shawn ever did these house show appearances).
Looks like this is one of those issues where I went over the 40,000 character limit. Hit the comments below for the rest.
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUSLY:
PROGRAMMING NOTE:Hi all! Sorry I didn't get this posted yesterday. I was out of town for a funeral and I completely forgot. Back to the normal schedule next Wednesday. Hopefully this post can bring everyone some entertainment, because holy shit what a nightmare the last week has been.
So let's take a look at the WWE right now, shall we? Raw ratings are the lowest they've been in 4 years. Smackdown ratings are the lowest in history. Live attendance is at its lowest levels in almost 5 years. The brand split is 10 weeks old and so far, not one new star has really been created. Sure, some have been introduced, but no one is over in any real way. All its done is dilute the star power of both shows. Ticket sales for the split roster shows have fallen off a cliff due to half the stars people want to see not being on any given show. But Dave says this is a rebuilding phase for the company. The brand split was obviously a totally bungled effort and Dave doesn't seem to understand how they fumbled everything this badly. And then, to top it off, they're doing the exact same angle on both shows (heel authority figure vs. top babyface). Nothing about the 2 shows feels all that different. Same production, same style of booking, same website, same writing teams, plugging each others' house shows, sharing PPVs, airing highlights of the other show, etc. None of this feels like "creating our own competition." It just feels like more of the same (18 years later and this has been the case the whole time. Never once have the two shows ever felt particularly unique from each other in any meaningful way because they've never truly allowed Raw and Smackdown to actually compete).
That's not to say there hasn't been some effort. They've been trying to make stars out of Angle, Jericho, and Edge. But unfortunately, Edge blew out his shoulder this week and will be out for awhile (ends up only being about a month). Kane was due for a big push after the split, but he's out injured also. They tried for a few weeks with Bradshaw but seem to have already given up on that (they'll try again in about 2 years and it finally clicks). Kurt Angle is still entertaining, but he's being booked as a comedic heel which pretty much limits him to the midcard. Brock Lesnar is getting a strong push, but there's rumors he's been the victim of politics (Dave mentions again how Triple H went to Vince and talked him into stopping Lesnar's gimmick of winning matches by ref stoppage, which was something that was setting him apart and was actually getting over) and now every time he wrestles, even though he wins, he's looking way too vulnerable against lower card guys like the Hardyz. Lesnar is the one newcomer they've brought up lately that has a real star aura about him and they aren't doing shit to protect him (imagine if Goldberg debuted and was having to struggle to beat lower card guys in competitive matches). Orton was tossed out there to languish with no real direction. Leviathan was given the terrible Deacon Batista gimmick and brought up to the main roster way before he's ready. So on and so forth. All of those guys have superstar potential, but WWE isn't doing any of them any favors right now. Goldberg is pretty much the only hotshot bullet they have left in the chamber. If/when they ever bring him in and that doesn't work either, then what? "The problem is that WWE has become WCW, in nearly every way," Dave says before listing several examples of how WWE is falling into many of the same traps.
Which brings us to Steve Austin and his recent appearance on WWE's internet Byte This show. Austin went on and pretty much called it exactly as it is, saying the writing and creative direction of WWE is terrible right now and that the brand split has been a flop. Austin even made the same WCW comparisons as Dave. And that's pretty much what it is. A top star publicly complaining about the company's product (and not getting punished for it) is textbook WCW. Not to mention the way Austin walked out and no-showed Raw the night after Wrestlemania (again, not being punished for it). Once again, that's some WCW shit. If anyone else on the roster walked out or complained about the management and the writing in a public forum, they'd be punished or fired. Double-standards like that were a huge reason for all the locker room discontent in WCW (I can't find the video of this interview, but here's a recap).
This just goes on and on with Dave critiquing everything wrong with WWE in 2002. They brought in Scott Hall and that went exactly how everybody else knew it was going to go. They brought in Nash and he's doing the same politicking and complaining he did in WCW. They brought in Hogan, put the belt on him, and he's already lost most of his steam. Shawn Michaels is back, but in a non-wrestling role (Dave mentions off-handedly here that Shawn is still claiming his back is injured and he's retired, but there's talk of him doing a one-off match sometime soon and see how things go from there. Needless to say, that's the seed that eventually becomes Shawn's entire second half of his career, but we'll get there). Dave also talks about Shawn claiming that he's found religion and he's a new man and says you have to take that with a pretty big grain of salt. Scott Hall said the same thing and most of the stories of wrestlers who claim to have found religion and cleaned up are usually full of shit, but time will tell with Shawn. And who knows, Dave says maybe he'll end up being one of the few who really means it (damn near 20 years later and, yup. Shawn was legit). There's an issue with using all these older wrestlers in full-time roles and Dave says guys like Hogan will be a lot more valuable if used sparingly. Even Ric Flair, who Dave admits is one of his all-time favorite performers and who can still cut the best promos in the business....but Dave says Flair isn't the answer either and they need to get him off TV because having him such a big part of the show every week is diminishing returns. And finally, to wrap all this up, he talks about other companies that went through hard times and what they had to do to rebuild. WCCW in 1983, AJPW in 1990, WWF in 1998, etc.
Tough Enough 2 is in the books and the show ended with the controversial decision for both Linda Miles and Jackie Gayda being declared the 2 winners, while the 2 male finalists were shit out of luck. The final decision was made by WWE producers Kevin Dunn and John Gaburik, as the show is mostly Dunn's pet project. Coaches Al Snow, Hardcore Holly, Ivory, and Chavo Guerrero also had input. Vince McMahon obviously had final say if he wanted it, but he reportedly had no impact on the decision at all and doesn't really seem to give a shit about the show one way or another. Dunn was told simply to pick the 2 who had the most immediate potential so they can do something with them ASAP. Of the 4 finalists, Linda Miles is thought to have the most potential. Dave breaks down her athletic career (including a WNBA tryout) and says she is by far the most athletically gifted woman the WWE has ever signed and picked up the in-ring part pretty quickly. She's also tall, which is usually a good thing for the guys, but with the women, it may work against her in WWE's eyes since she'll tower over all the other women (and some of the guys). She's also attractive, but not in that sex-kitten T&A way that WWE likes. Which brings us to Jackie Gayda, who became the star of the show after her steamy hot tub session with another contestant in which she cheated on her boyfriend and became the villain of the show in a lot of peoples' eyes. She also has the look WWE is wanting, but to be fair, she earned it. It was widely believed that nobody had the passion and desire to win as much as Jackie did and even after tearing her ACL, she refused to drop out of the contest. She has since undergone surgery and is already close to fully recovered (remember the show was taped months ago). The boyfriend she cheated on is still dating her and he was with her at the live finale TV special. On WWE Byte This, host Kevin Kelly mocked the dude and joked about how Gayda will dump the guy as soon as she's on the road full time away from him.
Some final Tough Enough notes. Specifically, about the other 2 finalists: Kenny Layne later became Kenny King, 2-time X-division champion in TNA, ROH tag team champ, ROH TV champ, and others and he still wrestles in ROH to this day. Dave says Kenny seemed the most disappointed about losing and he was also the best in-ring wrestler of the 4. Dave thinks he'll still end up getting a developmental deal at some point, he's too good for them to just let him get away. The other guy (Jake Sokoloff) never ended up doing anything in the business. The feeling on him was the he had the look to be a superstar but he just could not grasp the business at all, forgot things constantly, and didn't seem to be all that motivated. But looks alone still got him to the finals, though Dave doubts he'll get a developmental deal. He'll probably be able to milk this Tough Enough thing and get some indie dates if he wants. And if he improves enough to be a passable wrestler, then WWE will likely sign him in a heartbeat. But for now, he's basically a modern day Van Hammer. Anyway, the 3rd season of the show is scheduled to film starting next month and they're already going through applications. Hugh Morrus is expected to become a coach on the show. There's a lengthier screening process this time and they're trying to bring in serious contenders, rather than out-of-shape goofs just so they can make fun of them, like in previous seasons. They're expected to take Tough Enough 3 more serious and attempt to find some real stars this time (that season will result in John Morrison and Matt Cappotelli becoming names in the business).
Riki Choshu held a press conference to talk about his departure from NJPW after 28 years there and what his future holds. Choshu pointed the finger of blame squarely on Antonio Inoki and accused Inoki of forcing him out of the company. Choshu had lost his position as booker awhile back and due to his high contract, Inoki wanted him gone. They also butted heads over the amount of money Inoki was spending to open his Los Angeles dojo, noting that the place is losing $10,000 per month and hasn't produced a single star. Choshu took his complaints to NJPW president Tatsumi Fujinami, but even he is powerless since Inoki owns the majority interest in the company. Choshu said that, after all these years, he finally understands why Giant Baba never trusted Inoki. Choshu also talked about the loss of Keiji Muto, Satoshi Kojima, and Kendo Kashin, who all jumped ship to AJPW along with several NJPW office employees. Choshu said Inoki never even tried to figure out what happened or address the problems that led to those guys leaving and didn't even seem bothered by it, even though it was a huge blow for NJPW. Inoki responded to Choshu's comments, saying Choshu was earning and spending too much money. Inoki refused to talk about the L.A. dojo expenses and claimed NJPW's failure to make new stars in recent years was Choshu's fault. Tatsumi Fujinami also chimed in and, perhaps not surprisingly since he still wants to keep his job, he sided with Inoki. Basically repeating the same things: Choshu barely wrestled and was neglecting his office duties and was being paid way too much. Fujinami also defended the L.A. dojo, saying he was against it at first but now sees it as an investment in their future. So what's next for Riki Choshu? No one knows. He said he's going on vacation and word is he may start his own promotion. Dave thinks he'll pretend to start a promotion, and try to do an "invasion" angle with AJPW or Zero-1 but that's just speculation. Dave also has reason to think Choshu might try to poach some wrestlers from NJPW to come with him, in particular Hiroshi Tanahashi or Shinya Makabe.
Let's talk about wrestling books, shall we!? Dave first talks about how, in the early 90s, right after the WWF steroid scandal broke, he had a meeting with some publishers about writing a wrestling book, but the general consensus was that wrestling fans can't/don't read. The huge success of Mick Foley's book changed that and suddenly everybody was getting book deals. Foley had two #1 bestsellers. Rock's book went to #1. Chyna's went to #2. So on and so forth. Dave mentions that Sable got a huge offer for a book, but it never materialized for whatever reason. Flair, Lawler, Heenan, Hogan, Austin....all had offers or are working on books. Lou Thesz and Dynamite Kid put out excellent books. On and on. There's no shortage of wrestling books on the market now and, since we're on that subject, Dave has read FIVE recent books and decides to give each one a full review. So let's see what we got:
"Stu Hart: Lord of the Ring" by Marsha Erb. First of all, Dave mentions that Bret Hart has been writing his own autobiography for years that is said to be almost encyclopedic in its detail (yeah, Bret's book is an incredible must-read if you haven't read it. I personally think it's the best wrestling autobiography ever written). Anyway, this book mostly focuses on Stu and the glory days of Stampede Wrestling. Well written and Dave says it's surprisingly accurate, which is pretty incredible given that the author had no previous experience or knowledge of the wrestling business, but it was very well researched and Dave doesn't seem to have any fact-checking to nit-pick here. Erb bent over backwards to try to be fair to everyone in the family, many of whom have wildly different versions of the same stories. Some in the family weren't as cooperative, but she did the best she could with what she had and it's a really good book. He doesn't classify it as a "must-read" the way Foley's first book or Dynamite Kid's book was, but he puts it a level just below those. "First Lady of Wrestling" by Missy Hyatt. Came out last year but he just finally read it. It's basically a sex-and-tell book, with Missy dishing the dirt on err'body. There were some major omissions (Missy doesn't even acknowledge her recent marriage for example) and some of the names/stories/locations are changed to protect some people she's still friendly with. Dave admits he's been good friends with Missy since way back in the mid-80s when she first started her career and it sounds like he knows some of the dirt on stories that she might have changed. Because of her lawsuit settlement with WCW, she wasn't allowed to write much about her leaving the company, but she did talk in detail about the circumstances leading to it. She tells a lot of stories about her first husband, Eddie Gilbert, though she tries to protect his memory and doesn't go into the details of his death. But the overall theme of the book is basically, "here's all the wrestlers I fucked and here's what it was like." Dave doesn't really address that other than to say that's probably why the book is so popular, so if you're into that, then this is the book for you. Otherwise, not much to talk about from a wrestling business perspective. "Secret of the Iron Claw: The Story of the Von Erich wrestling dynasty as told by Fritz Von Erich" by author Ron Mullinax. The saddest of the wrestling books. As he was dying of brain cancer, Fritz Von Erich sat down with Mullinax (one of Fritz' only friends he had left at the time of his death, noting Mullinax is a lifelong wrestling fan and was probably Fritz's biggest fan) and basically shared his life story. Which, if you're familiar with the Von Erichs, is a sad story. Not here though. To his death, Fritz refused to stop "working" and as a result, the book is full of exaggerations and outright bullshit. Dave notes that it's "almost complete fiction." And of course, Dave gives a few examples and then tells the real story (example: in the book, when talking about the athletic backgrounds of all his children, it mentions Kevin Von Erich being recruited by the Dallas Cowboys. Not true. He was a starting fullback in college but didn't get any pro offers. Or the claim that Kerry Von Erich could have gone to the Olympics as a discus thrower. Again, he was good and even set some records in high school, but he gave up the sport early in his college career and was nowhere close to Olympic-level. Just shit like that). It also portrayed wrestling as real. Fritz did admit that sometimes, in order to entertain fans, they would stretch it out a little to have longer matches, but he still claimed the fighting was all real. Also claimed they invented using entrance music. No. Fritz also invented the cage match, the barbed wire match, the Texas Death match, and more. Needless to say, no, no, and no. Fritz also took credit for Vince McMahon's later success, saying that he came up with the idea of going national in 1973 and he told his big secret plan to Vince Sr., who passed it on to Vince Jr. and the rest is history. So if you want to re-live the old days of reading Apter mags where everything is portrayed as real and half the stories are total bullshit, then this is the book for you. But Dave thinks it's kinda sad that, even as he was taking his dying breaths, Fritz couldn't drop the gimmick and stop being a worker. Despite all this, Dave seems to have a soft-spot for the book, because he lived in Texas during the WCCW golden age and it's a period close to his heart, but it's among the worst wrestling books he's ever read. "Hey, Boy! Where'd You Get Them Ears?" by Paul Boesch. This was actually written back in the 80s but was never fully finished or released until it was recently published by Boesch's family. Again, Dave admits he's in a unique position here because he knew Boesch and when he first wrote the book, Dave was one of the first people to get a copy that Boesch had printed up himself. Anyway, this is a really good book....for the 80s. But of course, back then, people protected the business and Boesch was no different, so there's some reality in here, blended with some fiction, while other things are simply glossed over to avoid talking about them at all. For someone who tries to mostly keep kayfabe, it's a really honest book otherwise. Having read this new version, Dave also says a lot of stuff has changed since he read the original in 1988. The final chapters in particular, focusing on Boesch's later years and his honest feelings on people like Vince McMahon, Bill Watts, Jim Crockett, and others are totally toned down from the original manuscript. Seems like Boesch's family didn't want to ruffle some people's feathers and they heavily edited Boesch's true opinions. Anyway, it's a must-read if you're a fan of that era and followed Houston wrestling, but Dave admits it's probably not going to appeal to many people beyond that.
(This isn't book related, but Dave recounts a story from Paul Boesch here that's too good not to share. He talks about a time during the dying days of Mid-South when they drew a disappointingly small crowd. Boesch pulled Dave aside and started giving him excuses for why the crowd was so small. It was a rainy day. There was a Houston Astros game that got moved which ended up competing against the show. The local economy was bad. On and on and on. Boesch told Dave every single excuse he could think of for why the crowd was so small. When he finished, he said, "I just wanted you to hear every excuse now, all at once, so you know that if anyone ever tells them to you again, don't listen. What really happened is I booked a main event that people didn't want to see. Period." Dave says, sure enough, in the 15 years since, he's heard every excuse imaginable for promoters when their shows don't draw. But at the end of the day, it comes down to that.)
"First Goddess of the Squared Circle" by Fabulous Moolah. The worst of the bunch, Dave calls it a 200 page insult to the intelligence of wrestling fans. Moolah presents her entire career completely in kayfabe, writing as if every match she ever wrestled was real. Even her 1999 WWF women's title victory over Ivory is portrayed as a real contest where the much, much younger Ivory underestimated Moolah. Stuff like that. She "protects the business" to an embarrassing degree. The book also contains never-ending praise and ass-kissing of Vince McMahon and his father. Unquestionably the worst of the wrestling books that has been released in the past few years.
Rumors that AAA in Mexico may be forced into a name change. Apparently there's some issue with Televisa owning the "AAA" name and apparently the promotion is having issues with the network. AAA owner Antonio Pena is said to be considering renaming the promotion PAP (Promocioes de Antonio Pena). If this does happen, it'll be bad news for them. Not just the name change, but Televisa is the highest rated network in Mexico. Losing their show on there would be devastating. (This clearly doesn't happen.)
You may remember Carlos Colon's brother Noel was murdered last year. Well the guy who did it was found guilty of first degree murder and other charges and sentenced to 99 years in prison without the possibility of parole. Noel Colon ran some kind of business and they found porn on one of the employees computers, which led to the employee being fired. After he was fired, he returned to the office, shot Colon twice in the head and twice in the throat.
AJPW merch sales have tripled because Keiji Muto is a t-shirt selling machine.
Pretty much every promotion in Japan is taking the month of June off because the World Cup is being held there, and trying to compete against the World Cup is madness. It'd be easier to just set your money on fire.
Atsushi Onita issued a challenge to Riki Choshu for an exploding barbed wire match because Onita never passes up an opportunity to get his name out there. They actually already faced each other 2 years ago and it was pure garbage as a match, but it did huge PPV buys and still holds the record for the 2nd highest Japanese PPV of all time (1st place is a Royce Graice vs. Kazushi Sakuraba match in PRIDE).
Davey Boy Smith's father is still trying to get the police in England to open up a murder investigation into the death because he still refuses to believe that his son would have put any drugs into his system.
At an indie show in Nashville, Jim Cornette got into a backstage altercation with Ed Ferrara. It was for Bert Prentice's promotion and Ed Ferrara was there because Jeff Jarrett wanted to have Ferrara, Jeremy Borash, and Don West do commentary, as a test-run for the upcoming NWA-TNA debut. Cornette was there because he's always there for these shows. Cornette has hated Ferrara ever since he portrayed the character making fun of Jim Ross in WCW, mocking his Bell's Palsy. And of course, Ferrara is just one step away from Vince Russo and I'm not sure if you've heard, but those two don't get along all that well. Anyway, Ferrara showed up and went around shaking everyone's hand as you do. He approached Cornette and went to shake his hand and....no. Cornette started talking to him, quietly at first, but we've all heard Jim Cornette talk. So he gradually got louder and louder and before you know it, Cornette was screaming and cursing at Ferrara about making fun of Jim Ross' medical condition and all that. Then Cornette spat in Ferrara's face and said that was for JR. Then he challenged Ferrara to take matters outside, but people got between them and it fizzled out. Fun times.
The NWA title will be decided in a Royal Rumble-style battle royal. They obviously can't use the name "Royal Rumble" but from Dave's understanding, it'll be basically the same rules. He thinks establishing yourself as a second-rate WWE by copying the Rumble on their debut show isn't exactly the best way to set the tone but so be it. Dave expects Shamrock to win because they won't put it on Jarrett immediately (although expect him to end up with the belt soon) and plus, people in TNA think Shamrock is still a big PPV draw because he did big numbers for UFC in 1995. Dave isn't quite so optimistic and thinks they should have just done a tournament. They could have stretched that out over 4 shows instead of 1.
Speaking of Shamrock, here's the story with him. He had been negotiating with WWE and they had agreed to let him have a 12-dates-per-month deal, same as Hogan, Nash, and Undertaker. But they wouldn't guarantee him the amount of money he knows he can make this year by fighting in UFC, and WWE refused to allow him to fight while under WWE contract. So that pretty much ended that. The TNA schedule is only 1 date every two weeks, which is enough to keep him in the public eye while still allowing him to train and prepare for potential UFC fights against Tito Ortiz and Dan Severn, both of which are rumored and would do huge business. So there you go.
Indie wrestlers James Storm and Chris Harris had a barn-burner of a match at that same Nashville indie show where Cornette was actin' a fool. Because of the match, it's rumored they'll be brought in to TNA.
Many of the TNA wrestlers have only signed single-show contracts or, at most, very short-term deals. As XWF proved, this is a bad idea. If somebody in TNA somehow manages to get over, WWE's gonna swoop in and they'll be on Raw by next week. You can't be serious about building a promotion without signing guys to long-term deals so you can safely build around them.
We're a week closer and ticket sales for TNA's debut show are still reeeeeally bad. Third row seats are still available as of press time. Dave estimates less than 300 have been sold so far, in a building that holds 7,000. They're going to have to heavily paper the crowd to fill the building for TV.
UFC filed a trademark lawsuit against the makers of Fire Pro Wrestling, a video game that uses characters from multiple wrestling and MMA promotions. They settled it out of court, with the FPW makers paying UFC an undisclosed amount of money.
Shawn Michaels will be returning to TV as part of an NWO babyface turn. As of now, the plan is not for him to wrestle, just to be an on-screen character. But Dave thinks it's only a matter of time, unless Shawn's back really just can't handle it. But WWE definitely wants him back for another match and Shawn has shown interest in the past.
Edge suffered a dislocated shoulder and torn labrum in the Smackdown cage match with Kurt Angle last week. He may be able to rehab it and return in a month or so, but if he needs surgery, it'll be more like 3 months. Couldn't be worse timing, since Edge is getting the first real sniff of the main event scene ever in his career, with Kurt Angle busting his ass to make Edge a star.
Goldberg had a meeting scheduled with WWE this week, but he canceled it and never rescheduled it. Shows you how interested he is. NJPW is sending someone to the U.S. to meet with Goldberg later this week to try to get him to work the October Tokyo Dome show.
Notes from Smackdown: Maven suffered a broken leg while doing a slide under Christian and his foot got caught in the canvas. This is pretty much exactly how RVD broke his leg in ECW. Anyway, Maven has a broken fibula and will be out 4-6 weeks. He continued the match though, all the way to the finish. They were just starting an angle where Torrie Wilson was gonna be Maven's girlfriend, so tough break (in 2 ways) for him. Undertaker had a match with Randy Orton and Dave gives Undertaker credit for making a real effort to help Orton look good in defeat. It was a damn good match and that was almost entirely because of Undertaker. It's not just him though, Dave notes that everybody Orton has been working with lately is going out of their way to get him over. He seems to be the chosen one right now. (Orton actually talks about this match in the recent Last Ride documentary).
The upcoming Madison Square Garden house show is going to feature Hulk Hogan teaming with Steve Austin against Ric Flair & Eddie Guerrero. So much for the brand split. Anyway, it'll be Hogan's first time wrestling in the Garden since 1992 and, brand split be damned, they're putting Hogan on the MSG show.
On his WWE.com blog, Jim Ross wrote about Davey Boy Smith's funeral and noted that his son Harry Smith will get an opportunity to try-out for WWE when he turns 18. He also said they were interested in Jim Neidhart's daughter Natalie, who wrestled as part of that Matrats thing last year. Dave hopes they encourage these kids to go to college first rather than signing them up as soon as they turn 18. It's a hard business and it'd be a good idea to have some kind of fallback plan in place rather than throwing them into the deep end while they're still kids.
Jim Ross also wrote that he's planning to release his autobiography in 2004 (ended up being 2017 but close enough right?)
Jeff Hardy has been pulled from all house shows but will continue working TVs on Monday night. Dave doesn't explain why, but earlier in this same issue, he once again hinted that Jeff looks like absolute shit these days and isn't half the wrestler he was a year ago. It's pretty clear that Dave knows about Jeff's drug problems but isn't outright saying it. Cuz yeah, Jeff was in deep at this point. Seems like WWE realized it too.
There's all sorts of rumors going around about WWE working with various Japanese promotions. Rock vs. Keiji Muto. WWE/AJPW partnership. Joint show with WWE and NJPW. Having WWE developmental wrestlers work Japan. etc. etc. Dave says there may be a little truth to the last one, it's been discussed, but the rest of it is all just bullshit made up by people in Japan trying to work the wrestling magazines and newspapers there. WWE isn't interested in any of that shit.
This week's episode of WWE Confidential was interesting because it talked about Davey Boy Smith and they didn't shy away from his drug problems, going deep into the story of his addictions. Although it's worth noting that, while everything else was talked about, steroids were never mentioned. They showed some clips of the lost interview from 1999. If you recall, when Smith returned in 1999 after Owen Hart's death, they filmed an interview with him and Diana where he talked about Bret, Owen, and lots of other issues. This was in the midst of the Owen lawsuit and WWE made the decision never to air the interview and it's been sitting in the vault ever since, with this being the first time any of it was ever seen. None of the clips shown here had anything to do with Owen or Bret. That stuff is all still in the vault somewhere to this day. But they played clips of him talking about his drug issues and his marriage with Diana. They also showed the bump in WCW that messed up his back on the Warrior trap door and even had footage of one of his last matches at an indie in Canada, teaming with his son.
NEXT WEDNESDAY:Steve Austin walks out on WWE, DDP retires, Vince McMahon on Byte This, preview of the birth of TNA, and more...
2020.05.20 18:00 daprice82Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ May 6, 2002
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUSLY:
Shad Gaspard went out as the absolute definition of what a father and hero should be. I know it doesn't ease the pain right now, but I hope in the future, that knowledge helps to bring some peace and comfort to his loved ones. What an awful, tragic, heartbreaking story this is. Rest in peace to Shad and best wishes to his family and friends.
We start with a near 5,000-word obituary on Lou Thesz, which ends with Dave promising to "go into more depth" next week. Splendid. Anyway, Lou Thesz passed away at 86 following complications after open heart surgery a few weeks prior. Needless to say, Thesz was the biggest worldwide star in wrestling from the late-30s through the mid-60s. So here we go: he hated modern American wrestling, which he called "choreographed tumbling" and his only connection to the business was in Japan, where he still occasionally made appearances. Became youngest major world champion in wrestling history at age 21 in 1937, in the latter years of the Great Depression. His match with Rikidozan in 1957 remains to this day the highest rated wrestling match of all time and will never even come close to being surpassed. It did a massive 87.0 rating, meaning damn near every house in Japan was tuned in for it. Wrestled his last match in 1990, at age 74, against Masahiro Chono for NJPW. Legit tough guy. His match with Buddy Rogers for the NWA title directly led to the creation of the WWWF in 1963. Dave tells a ton of amazing stories about Thesz's career here. I know I joke about how long these obits are, but this really is a fantastic read about one of the most important figures in the history of wrestling. Speaking of...
The WWF failed to acknowledge Thesz's death on TV the following night, which Dave thinks was utterly classless given how important Lou Thesz was to the industry. In fact, during Steve Austin's match, when he did the Thesz Press move, Jim Ross hesitated before calling the move and Dave seems pretty certain that they were specifically told not to acknowledge him. For what it's worth, Thesz has never exactly spoken highly of modern day wrestling or WWF (aside from telling anyone who would listen how much he loved Kurt Angle). But it wasn't all bad blood. Thesz worked a battle royal at a WWF show in the 80s and even made appearances in front of the crowd at WWF shows as recently as 1997. But WWF seemingly went out of their way to not mention the death of one of the most legendary and historically important wrestlers the business ever saw.
Oh yeah, remember Wahoo McDaniel died last week and Dave promised to have more this week? Here we go. Look folks, I'm not recapping this. It's literally almost 10,000 words about the life and career of Wahoo McDaniel. I'm talking detailed life story, his entire football career, his wrestling career, a million different interesting stories and quotes from other people in the business (Dory Funk Jr., Jim Barnett, Nick Bockwinkel, Terry Funk, and more). It's an incredible piece of writing because Dave always shines in these historical obituary pieces. If you ever wanted to learn everything about Wahoo McDaniel, faaaar more than you'll find on his Wikipedia page or whatever, then this is the issue for you.
And now we go in depth about the allegation that Josh Barnett failed a steroid test just after beating Randy Couture back in March for the UFC heavyweight title. Dave talks about the legalities and possible outcomes of this for Barnett and how the Nevada commission, in all their years of testing for boxing and kickboxing, have surprisingly never actually had a steroid test failure like this that they've had to punish, so there's no precedent for what to do here. Anyway, Dave covers all this stuff, talks about what UFC and the commission might do to Barnett, how he pretty much has to be stripped of the title if UFC wants to maintain any credibility, how this might affect Barnett and other UFC fighters who might jump to PRIDE if the UFC cracks down hard on steroid failures, etc. Even though the Nevada commission technically governs pro wrestling also, Nevada doesn't test WWF (because WWF would simply stop running shows there if they did). WWF hasn't tested people seriously in years. They did do a random steroid test for everybody in developmental recently, but nobody was suspended if they failed, they were just pulled aside and talked to about it.
The 28-year relationship between NJPW and head booker Riki Choshu ended this week when Choshu resigned from the company. Choshu actually submitted his resignation almost a month ago, but both sides had agreed to keep it quiet until after the upcoming Tokyo Dome show. But word leaked out this week before the show, forcing NJPW to put out a statement announcing that Choshu will be leaving the company at the end of May and would be honored in a ceremony at the Tokyo Dome show, which is expected to be his final NJPW appearance. Dave can't put into words how big this is. Aside from Antonio Inoki himself, Riki Choshu was undoubtedly the most important person in the history of New Japan Pro Wrestling. Dave recaps his entire career, starting with his NJPW debut in 1974, the famous angle in the early 80s where he turned on Fujinami and Inoki, leading NJPW to the biggest financial success any wrestling promotion in history had ever had up to that time. Choshu's brief jump to AJPW in the 80s, his return in 87 and becoming booker in 1989. In fact, aside from Vince McMahon, Choshu is the 2nd most successful booker in wrestling history, with NJPW having drawn more than half of the top 40 largest crowds in the history of wrestling. NJPW was the biggest and strongest promotion in the world for most of the 1990s, under Choshu's booking. Then his retirement, return, and now this. Dave doesn't have all the details of why this happened yet or what Choshu's next move will be. Could start his own promotion or, even at age 50, jump to AJPW and probably have a hell of a run with fresh dream matches that would do big business. Time will tell.
PRIDE became the first promotion in the history of the Observer to have back-to-back shows get 100% thumbs up vote from the readers. Mirko Cro Cop vs. Vanderlei Silva was a huge draw, record gate and attendance for the arena, all that fun stuff. That match ended up being a great fight that ended in a draw. Dave thinks Silva should have won. Future IWGP champion Bob Sapp made his MMA debut, defeating an opponent he outweighed by 130 pounds. Dave thinks Sapp looks like Brock Lesnar with 60 more pounds of muscle. Sapp was with WCW in developmental until they went out of business and he came out for this fight in a Ric Flair robe, with Flair's entrance music, and got over huge with the crowd immediately.
More MMA news, as the UFC lightweight title was vacated when champ Jens Pulver left over a contract dispute. Dave goes into the financial details of it and what Pulver wanted and why UFC is trying not to spend money until they get a TV deal so they can't afford to pay guys what other MMA companies can, etc. (the lightweight title stays vacant for the next 4 years. UFC tries to have a tournament to crown a new champion but the finals ends in a draw, so they just said "fuck it" and scrapped the whole division until 2006).
Raw ratings for this week are in and they aren't good news for Hogan. The show itself drew the lowest rating since the NFL season ended months ago. And the Hogan/Undertaker angle with the overrun at the end of the show drew the lowest overrun rating in 4 years. Hogan's been back in WWF for a little less than 3 months and it's looking like this nostalgia run may already be running out of steam. Smackdown also did its lowest non-holiday rating in history this week, which is even worse news (the more things change...)
Genichiro Tenryu beat Keiji Muto to win the vacant AJPW Triple Crown title that was held up after Toshiaki Kawada was injured last month. The match was nowhere near as good as the classic Muto/Tenryu match from last year, but was still good when you consider both men are practically elderly by wrestling standards and are physically thrashed.
Kenta Kobashi is expected to return to full-time in-ring action in July after missing most of the last 2 years with knee injuries (yeah he finally comes back for real this time and goes on to have one hell of a late-career run over the next few years).
After months of hype, the Giant Silva vs. Giant Singh match planned for the NJPW Tokyo Dome show this week won't be happening, after Singh suffered a fractured cheekbone that required surgery and will keep him out for 3 months (poor Great Khali). Chyna was originally scheduled to be the referee for that match, but she won't be doing that now. So this week, they had a press conference where Tiger Jeet Singh attacked Antonio Inoki and challenged him to a match, but Chyna made the save for Inoki ('oh this is getting sad," Dave writes) and she challenged Tiger to the match herself (this doesn't happen, she ends up refereeing a tag match instead).
The Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Masahiro Chono match at the NJPW Tokyo Dome show will end up airing on TV after all, but it won't be part of the live broadcast. Misawa is contracted to Nippon TV but the show is airing on TV-Asahi going head-to-head with a major soccer game on Nippon. So they won't allow the Misawa match to air against their soccer game, but they have agreed to allow it to air during NJPW's usual weekly TV show a couple of days later.
NJPW is discussing copying the way American wrestling promotions do television. Currently, NJPW is a primarily live-show focused promotion and then highlights and matches of their various shows are collected, edited, and broadcast on its weekly TV show. But both Inoki and Chono have talked about wanting to run live, weekly TV the way WWF does, with angles and whatnot taking place the same way. The Tokyo Dome show airing live on TV is being seen as something of a test for that idea.
The latest Ring of Honor show again drew a sellout crowd in Philadelphia. The matches were again said to be spectacular, with Low-Ki vs. AJ Styles stealing the show. WWF Intercontinental champion Eddie Guerrero also worked the show, which was the final booking he had made prior to his return to WWF, and they allowed him to honor it. Eddie busted his ass and sold like crazy in the match, continuing to earn his reputation back and prove himself. Fans chanted "Thank you Eddie" at him after the match. After the bout, Eddie cut an emotional promo about his pending divorce and losing out in a custody hearing for his children. He talked about his personal issues and how his first brush with fame in the U.S. was in Philadelphia for ECW. None of this was scripted, it was Eddie going off the cuff and being honest and it brought many in the crowd to tears (I can't find video of the promo, but here's the post ROH made on their website after Eddie's death where they talk about it).
Bret Hart wrote in his Calgary Sun column about his recent appearance on that Talking With The Dead show with the psychic that claims he can talk to dead people. Hart said he went in to the show open minded, feeling 50/50 on whether this guy was legit. Afterwards, Bret felt slightly more confident (55/45) that he was legit. Hart admitted that most of the stuff the guy said, he could have found out by researching, but regardless, Hart said his gut tells him the guy is legit and if he's not, he still did a good job of convincing him. Hart said he doesn't regret doing it. (Oh Bret, honey...)
Mark and Jay Briscoe have quit CZW. It's kind of a technicality since they couldn't really wrestle for them anyway. CZW's shows mostly take place in Pennsylvania and you have to be 18 for the commission to legally allow you to wrestle. For awhile, both Briscoes were underage. So then they started wrestling under masks, but the commission wasn't stupid and figured that out too. So they've left the company. Jay is now working with Ring of Honor (since he recently turned 18) but Mark can't join him yet. But it's expected he will when he turns 18 as well (and the Briscoes have pretty much been there ever since).
Quote, presented without context: "Ted Petty (Rocco Rock) was spotted on a Manhattan street selling mops."
In regards to the new Jarrett family promotion, Jerry is said to be against bringing in Vince Russo, but Jeff is adamant that he wants Russo to be the new promotion's head writer.
The Jarretts are also hoping to use Road Dogg, but he's on house arrest for the next 6 months, so it won't be until after that. They're also trying to avoid using a lot of old WCW names, mostly because those stars are expensive and the NWA Wildside indie workers will wrestle for cheap. But they're also complete unknowns to all but the most hardcore of fans, which is gonna make it hard to draw PPV buys even though many of them are very good workers.
XWF's entire planned Texas tour this week got canceled at the last minute when the financial backer pulled out. The money they were supposed to pay them never materialized and they cut off contact with the promotion at literally the last moment. All of the talent showed up in Texas, only to find out that the entire tour (4 shows throughout the state) had been scrapped. Advertising for the shows had been minimal and even with Roddy Piper, Rena Mero, and Dusty Rhodes advertised, ticket sales were embarrassing (one show in Tyler, TX had only 50 tickets sold when it was canceled). The wrestlers hung around the first arena they were supposed to be at and signed autographs and whatnot for the fans who did show up, but that was it. The wrestlers were told they would all still be getting paid for the entire tour and their travel expenses, so no one was too terribly mad. But they haven't been paid as of yet, although XWF said checks will be sent out this week. But in the wrestling biz, you never know for sure until the money is in your hand. No word on whether XWF plans to take legal action against the backers who pulled out. The promotion has no other dates on the schedule (and that was it for XWF. No other shows ever happen and they quietly fold up shop soon after).
Regarding Hogan winning the WWF title, Vince originally planned to keep the belt on Triple H up until the day of the show. It was debated strongly during the writers meeting, with Stephanie McMahon (not surprisingly) and Paul Heyman pushing to keep the belt on Triple H, while most everyone else argued to put it on Hogan and strike while the iron is hot. Ultimately, Vince decided to go with Hogan.
WWF has taken out several new trademarks for "WW," "WWE," and "World Wrestling Entertainment" among others. They also recently registered the domain names for WWE.com and WorldWrestlingEntertainment.com (as well as .org and .net). Privately, within the company, everyone seems to recognize that they aren't going to win their final appeal with the World Wildlife Fund lawsuit and are going to be forced to change the company name, so they're preparing for it. They've also gotten the trademark on a new logo, which looks exactly like the current scratch logo, but with the F removed. Given all the "WWF" logos that have been plastered on turnbuckles, ring aprons, signs, etc. over the last 20 years, there's some question over how this will affect future video releases of old footage (answer: by annoyingly blurring everything out).
In its second week in theaters, Scorpion King continues to reign at #1 in the box office. As of this writing, it has grossed $60.8 million. Big Money Miavia is gonna be a star, folks!
Notes from Smackdown: Hogan got another huge reaction when he came out, which is weird because he didn't get near the reaction on Raw the same week (remember, Hogan is champ and champ gets to go on both shows). For what it's worth, the local newspaper reported that cheers for Hogan were being piped in through the speakers, which is the type of embarrassing shit WCW used to do with the Goldberg chants. Dave says he couldn't tell if that was true on TV or not. Also during the show, Chris Jericho himself and Vince McMahon both referred to Jericho as "Living Legend" so it looks like they're not taking Larry Zbyszko's lawsuit too seriously. Randy Orton made his debut and Dave thinks he looks way too much like a fresh-faced boy next door to get over as a babyface with this WWF audience. Dave predicts he'll get treated like Rock did during his first year or two, when crowds were literally chanting at him to die (indeed, Orton didn't really click until he turned heel). And finally, Jericho and Triple H had a really good match.
Internally, it's recognized that Edge is the guy they want to get behind and push right now. For months now, Edge and RVD have been the glass ceiling guys that everyone is pushing the company to strap a rocket to. But RVD had a pretty lackluster PPV match with Eddie Guerrero and that soured a lot of people on pushing him as a top guy. On the other hand, Edge tore the house down with Kurt Angle and it opened a lot of eyes for people who see potential in Edge as a top singles guy some day.
In regards to recent rumors that Juventud Guerrera is headed to WWF, that's not true, at least not right now. He's been calling WWF periodically, looking for work, and John Laurinaitis keeps giving him the ol' "Call us back in a month or two and we'll see what we have." But with plans to restart the cruiserweight division, Juvie would be one of the top guys they should want. That being said, WWF has been trying to make it a point not to sign people who have been openly battling their personal demons (Scott Hall double-standard notwithstanding) and Juvie hasn't exactly been on his best behavior in the last few years, so that works against him.
Former WCW Nitro girl Sharmell Sulivan suffered a torn ACL training in OVW and will undergo surgery that will keep her out for 4-6 months (the injury pretty much convinces her to give up on the whole wrestling thing. She eventually returned as an interviewer and later as Booker T's valet. And she wrestled a handful of matches in later years, but for all intents and purposes, the ACL injury put an end to the idea of her being a wrestler).
MTV's "The Osbournes" continues to be a monster hit and continues to be the only show on cable that is beating WWF's Raw in the ratings. It's happened for the 3rd week in a row and will probably continue to happen until the season is over. Prior to this show, Raw was almost always the highest rated cable show of the night.
Kurt Angle recently filmed a PSA for the Get Tough on Angina campaign to raise awareness about the rare heart condition. It was supposed to air on Smackdown, but Vince nixed it at the last minute because he didn't want Angle, as a heel, being portrayed in a manner where he's doing something charitable and good. The commercial will still air during Raw since he's not on that show. Sure, why not? Vince actually didn't like the idea of Angle doing the commercial at all since Angle is one of the top heels in the company. Angle was chosen for the spot because more than a dozen members of his family have suffered from it and even Angle was thought to have it and flunked his first WWF medical test in 1998 because of it. But later tests showed he was okay.
Speaking of Angle, the WWF has given him their blessing to take time off to train for the 2004 Olympics. They have even agreed to sponsor him and will continue to pay his minimum downside guarantee while he's off. Angle has said that his impromptu backstage match with Lesnar a few months ago made him feel competitive again, but it also made him realize he's not nearly the amateur wrestler he was back in 1996. Even though Lesnar outweighed Angle by about 80 pounds and even though Angle hasn't wrestled competitively like that in nearly 6 years, he still was able to beat him. But it wasn't easy. That same day, prior to the Angle vs. Lesnar matchup, both guys were having fun grappling with Big Show. Angle later said that if Big Show actually knew what he was doing, he'd be unstoppable because he's so big and strong. But he didn't know what he was doing and as a result, both Angle and Lesnar physically manhandled him on the ground. Anyway, Angle plans to make his 2004 Olympics decision before the end of this year, which would give him all of 2003 to train and get back to where he think he needs to be. But it will depend on how he's feeling physically. Angle said if he's still beat up with injuries by the end of the year, he won't do it because if he isn't 100%, he can't properly train and wouldn't have a chance of winning another gold medal (indeed, Angle's body continues to break down and the 2004 Olympics never happens).
Jim Ross admitted that WWF has had talks with Ken Shamrock recently but who knows if it will amount to anything. UFC has made Shamrock a great offer to fight Tito Ortiz in September. Shamrock is fine with that money offer, but he wants a no-rematch clause in the contract. UFC is insisting on a rematch. Because if Shamrock beats Ortiz, it'll be seen as an upset and would turn Shamrock into the UFC's biggest star overnight. And if that happens, they don't want him jumping ship to PRIDE immediately after. UFC wants to make sure that if Shamrock wins, Ortiz will get a rematch. Shamrock is 38 years old and, in terms of long-term financial stability, WWF is probably the best option for him. Despite rumors to the contrary, Shamrock reportedly has no interest in joining the new Jarrett promotion (he literally wins the NWA title on TNA's very first show lol....but we'll get there).
Jim Ross also noted that WWF has had discussions with NJPW about allowing WWF developmental talent to go work tours for them (don't think this ever amounts to anything).
After being told to retire by his own doctors, DDP went to Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham for a second opinion....and they told him to retire also. DDP's spinal cord is said to be in such bad shape that one more bad bump could paralyze him. DDP is planning to see Dr. Youngblood in a few weeks (the same doctor that put Steve Austin's neck back together) and still hopes to return to the ring (nah, not really. Takes off the next few years and, aside from a scattering of matches over the years since, he pretty much retired as a full-time wrestler at this point).
WWF held another training camp this week with a whole list of developmental and unsigned indie wrestlers. Among them: April Hunter from WCW, Bobby Rude, Josh Matthews from Tough Enough season 1, former WCW wrestler Horshu who Dave says has a good body and nothing else (later becomes Luther Reigns), Daffney from WCW, and Sylvain Grenier, among many others who's names nobody will recognize. During the session, the WWF agents strongly trashed the "indie shoot style" matches that have become popular on the indies, specifically noting the Low-Ki vs. American Dragon matches in Ring of Honor. The agents said that style is just as bad as backyard wrestling and that the idea is to make things look like they hurt, but not actually hurt. And I guess the ROH "strong style" is too tough and can lead to too many injuries. Dave says this stems from Spanky showing up to a recent WWF training camp covered in bruises from a recent ROH match with American Dragon. So they don't like that style of rasslin' in WWF.
NEXT WEDNESDAY:The WWF is dead, long live the WWE! NJPW Tokyo Dome show fallout, Goldberg becomes a free agent, Scott Hall fired, the Plane Ride From Hell, and more...
NOTE:Sorry about no Rewind on Friday. Last week was horrible. Both of my dogs had to be put to sleep within 6 days of each other. One was planned, he had health issues and we had to make the tough decision to let him go and we had prepared ourselves for it. But the other one just a few days later was completely unexpected and absolutely crushed us. Needless to say, it's been a devastating week and wrestling has been my primary escape since, like everyone else, I'm quarantined in this house with all the sadness. To Kali and Bert, who spent so many hours curled up under my feet as I typed these Rewinds over the years, I love and miss you both terribly. <3
NJPW remains in disarray behind the scenes. Antonio Inoki and Masahiro Chono are working together to book the company, despite their philosophical differences (Chono sure would like it if Inoki would stop forcing MMA and his relationship with PRIDE into every aspect of NJPW business) but they're making it work for now. Tokyo Sports reported that Inoki sold some of his stake in NJPW to K-1 president Kazuyoshi Ishii, but Chono has denied that so who knows. As for company president Tatsumi Fujinami, Inoki said he wants him to decide whether he wants to be an in-ring wrestler or president, but he doesn't want him doing both anymore. He also pretty much flat out said that if business doesn't improve, Fujinami will be forced out, so ya know, no pressure. Inoki also wants Riki Choshu involved in booking, but Choshu has reportedly had it with Inoki and his constant interference with the MMA stuff and walked away from the booking team months ago.
The first round of the tournament to crown a new IWGP champion took place this week, and saw the surprise return of Rick Steiner, who went over Kensuke Sasaki in the first round. Tadao Yasuda and Yuji Nagata also advanced and the 3 of them will join Masa Chono (who had a first round bye) in the semi-finals next week. As far as the vacant IWGP Jr. title, rumor is that will be decided in a match next week between Minoru Tanaka vs. Masahito Kakihara but that may change. As for the vacant tag team titles, they will hold an 8-team tournament in March to crown new champs.
Big story about Tito Ortiz tearing his ACL and needing surgery, forcing UFC to scrap his planned dream match against Vitor Belfort. That fight doesn't end up happening until 2005. But anyway, that's MMA so....
Looooooong obituary for Nelson Royal, the former NWA Jr. Heavyweight champion, who died from a heart attack at 66 years old. Royal held the Jr. title in the 70s and was the last real touring champion that title had. Danny Hodge had previously held the belt and made it famous until a car wreck mostly ended his career, at which point Royal became champion and toured the territories defending it for most of the next few years, but that title was never really a big draw compared to the NWA world title. Anyway, Dave recaps his career and, with it, the weird convoluted history of that title. I'm always blown away at how Dave can write thousands of words about the interesting career of someone I've never even heard of.
Remember a couple of issues ago where Dave recapped some of the Observer Awards and gave his personal opinions on the winners and whether he agreed with them or not and why and blah blah blah? Well, he only did half of them in that issue. So this issue has the other half. Slow week I guess.
Dave looks back at numbers for the Japanese business over the past year. Yeah, definitely a slow week. Anyway, attendances, gates, TV ratings, etc. AJPW business is still in decline because they've not really recovered from the NOAH exodus in 2000. Speaking of NOAH, this was their first full year of existence so there's nothing to really compare their numbers to, but they're holding steady. PRIDE numbers are almost identical to the year before. NJPW was hit hard with their Dome shows, with attendance dropping 25% since last year. All their other numbers are mostly steady, so for all the doom and gloom about NJPW, the only real decline they saw was in their ability to draw for big stadium shows (yeah, that was just the first sign. The next few years for NJPW are going to be the real doom and gloom).
A guy named Ben Miller writes occasional columns-within-the-Observer and he has one about the NJPW situation. No news, just analysis. Then, after Ben's thing, there's another looooooong section of....Observer history. Hey, that's my job! Anyway, it's like "2 years ago this week" then 7 years ago, and 12 years ago. And he just recaps all the big stories from the Observers of those years. Fuck off Dave, I'm working this corner!
In Mexico, a tag match featuring Vampiro and a wrestler named Cobarde went sideways when a fan got involved. The fan brought his chair to ringside and was acting like he was going to hand it to Vampiro to use on Cobarde. But suddenly, the fan pulled the chair back and swung it at Cobarde himself, cracking him hard in the head and giving him a cut that required stitches. Charges were filed against the fan.
Rey Mysterio is still working in Puerto Rico and having show-stealing matches with Eddie Colon (Primo) over the WWC Jr. title.
Jun Akiyama said that if he gets pinned by Kenta Kobashi in Kobashi's return match next week, he'll vacate the GHC heavyweight title. NOAH is big on realism and from a ring-rust kayfabe perspective, Kobashi has been out for over a year, so it wouldn't make sense for him to be able to beat the champion in his first match back. Dave expects Akiyama will pin Kobashi, which will give Kobashi a loss to avenge later on.
A St. Paul newspaper wrote a story about Jesse Ventura using his political office as state governor to cash in for himself, specifically talking about his Summerslam 1999 appearance, XFL announcing gig, books he's written, and more. Dave talks about how Ventura was very cagey about the money he got from Summerslam, attempting to mislead the media into thinking he was donating it to charity when in fact he didn't. Ventura has always claimed that his outside business ventures are done on his own time and don't interfere with his work as governor, but the article used a recent example of Ventura disappearing for several days in the middle of the week to film a role in a Dana Carvey movie (The Master of Disguise).
Superstar Billy Graham had a donor lined up to give him a portion of his liver, a friend he knew from church, but the man failed his blood test and is no longer a candidate. So Graham is still waiting. If there's a silver lining, the donor found out in the midst of the test about his own liver issues that needed immediate attention, which he wouldn't have found out about otherwise so that's good.
Gary Michael Capetta is hosting a live theater show, based on his book Bodyslams, about his 21 years as a wrestling announcer. Sounds like it's pretty much just a speaking tour, telling stories about his career. Years before Mick Foley started touring with the same idea.
A female wrestler in Australia named Donna Marie Parsons was charged with having her husband murdered by 2 hitmen to collect a $1 million life insurance policy. First they tried to kill him by cutting the brake lines in his car, but that didn't work and then they tried to run him off the road when he was riding a motorcycle but that didn't work either. So then on the third attempt, they just went to his house and beat him to death with a crowbar and cut his throat. Yeah, I've found that usually does the trick. Anyway, she has pleaded not guilty. (She later gets convicted and gets 23 years in prison).
A Toronto newspaper ran a story about Diana Hart, her book, and the Hart family in general. Diana once again said she wanted Pamela Anderson to play her in a film version of her life (she said this in another interview awhile back on TV and was ridiculed for it). She also doubled down on her claims from the book, that Davey Boy Smith was abusive, drug addicted, and had raped her.
WWA's Las Vegas PPV was confirmed for the Aladdin Hotel. Since the promoters weren't able to get a license from the commission in time, the arena is using its own license to allow the show to go on. Scott Steiner is claiming he'll be working the show. Konnan and Norman Smiley, both of whom have worked all previous WWA shows, are booked for an XWF show on that same date, as is Rey Mysterio, so don't expect any of them. They're advertising a Juventud Guerrera vs. Psicosis match, but Psicosis is claiming he hasn't heard from anyone in WWA about wanting to book him for that date yet.
Speaking of XWF, it was reported last week that WWF made Jimmy Hart an offer to come in with Hogan, but Hart has decided to turn it down and stick with helping to run XWF (obviously doesn't pan out too well for him).
Well that didn't take long. Scott Hall showed up to the WWF TV tapings this week and made a total spectacle of himself, apparently drunk. In the past, as long as you weren't working a match, a lot of wrestlers and promoters looked past being messed up in the locker room because you're just hanging out, you're not endangering anybody. But this was Hall's first day back in the locker room and needless to say, everyone was pretty irritated about it. It confirmed everything everybody expected when it was announced that these 3 guys were coming back. Dave says Steve Austin and Undertaker particularly have been vocal about the fact that they've worked too hard to get the company to where it is to allow these guys to come in and wreck things. Naturally, Triple H has been coming to his friends' defense but he's pretty much the only one. Speaking of Austin, it's expected he'll face either Hall or Nash at Wrestlemania, which would leave Rock/Hogan and Triple H/Jericho as the other 2 big matches.
Notes from Raw: the show was in Vegas. The "police" that Angle hid behind when he was running from Triple H were actually bouncers from the local Crazy Horse Saloon strip club where Godfather has worked off and on for years in real life. They did the angle with Stephanie trying to get Triple H to renew their vows and telling him she was pregnant. Dave says pregnancy angles in wrestling always suck. The best pregnancy angle was the ECW one with Beulah, where she was "pregnant" for 6 months, never showed, and then turned lesbian for a week in an angle that was then forgotten about and only succeeded in getting them kicked off their Florida TV channel. And that was the good pregnancy angle. From there, Terri and Val Venis, Mae Young and the hand, the Stacy KeibleFlairs/Russo nonsense in WCW, and so on and so forth. They're never good. Anyway, Dave expects Stephanie to turn on Triple H and join Jericho when they do the vow renewal. That was the original plan with the Goldust/Marlena/Brian Pillman angle back in 1997, but then Pillman died and the angle got scrapped.
Fans have been doing the "What?!" chant during the national anthem at recent WWF shows. Literally Steve Austin's worst contribution to the professional wrestling industry.
Apparently Jericho did end up playing in that charity hockey game this week as part of the NHL All-Star weekend, with Goldberg acting as celebrity coach. For what it's worth, Goldberg was said to be very apologetic to Jericho about what happened between them in WCW (when Goldberg refused to work with him because Kevin Nash convinced him that he was too big of a star to be working with Jericho). Goldberg said he realizes now he was basically being manipulated because, of course, soon after that, Nash himself worked with Goldberg and ended his streak. During the game, Jericho and Goldberg did an angle together where they pretended to fight and Goldberg had to pick Jericho up and carry him back to the bench, which got a lot of publicity (can't find any video of this).
Hulk Hogan was on the Bubba The Love Sponge show and talked about how he's going to kick the Rock's ass, the same way he kicked his dad's ass. Dave isn't sure Hogan and Rocky Johnson ever even wrestled each other (from my research, the answer appears to be no). Obviously this further adds to the speculation that Hogan will likely face Rock at Wrestlemania.
When Stacy Keibler was on Howard Stern recently, he invited her to come with him to Scores strip club and she agreed. But this week, Stern went on the show and said WWF officials wouldn't let her go to the strip club with him because they felt it wasn't a good look for the company, leading Stern to point out all the half-naked Attitude Era stuff she's been doing on TV for the last year and wonders how that's any different. Full disclosure, I'd still risk it all for Stacy Keibler. Top 5 all-time dead or alive, fight me.
Chris Benoit was told by doctors that it's going to be at least 3 more months before he's cleared to return to the ring, which kills Benoit's hope of being back in time for Wrestlemania, although he kinda figured as much anyway, so the news wasn't a surprise.
WWF has had discussions about maybe bringing in Eric Bischoff, but it's still a long way off if/when that happens, still just early talks. Also, those who have seen Bischoff lately say he's not exactly camera ready lately (dude's been unemployed and living out in the mountains for awhile I guess). Obviously, there's potential to bring him in with the NWO.
Scott Hall's contract calls for a maximum of 10 dates per month, which basically means no house shows as long as he appears on all TVs. He and Nash are pushing to get X-Pac brought into the NWO with them, but Vince ain't going for it yet. Word is X-Pac has some heat from an interview he did on WWF.com a few months back where he made a lot of negative comments about how the company has handled its light heavyweight division. This ain't WCW, so going out in public and talking shit about your employer actually gets you in trouble here.
In a recent interview, Jerry Lawler was asked who would win a legit wrestling tournament among all the WWF wrestlers. Lawler said it wouldn't even be close and that Kurt Angle would wipe the floor with every single one of them in 30 seconds. That begs the question of Brock Lesnar and, turns out, we have an answer to that. Apparently Angle and Lesnar had their own wrestling match backstage for that very reason, to settle that debate, and Angle won, although it was apparently close. Even an Olympian struggles when the guy is 75 pounds heavier than you. Angle talked about it in a WWF.com interview:
"A guy like Brock, he's 310 pounds and he's a tremendous athlete. I give him a lot of credit. I underestimated him. He's actually better than I thought he was. He's not only a great wrestler; he' is a tremendous athlete. And I haven't wrestled in five years, so I'm kind of like an old man. I'm nothing compared to what I used to be. He just got out of college. so he's still pumping on all cylinders. To be able to get in the ring with him felt pretty good. Did I win? Yeah, but not by much. How would I do if I were in the same shape he was? I'll be honest. I'd kill him. If that hurts his feelings, too bad. It's just the way it is. He's a national champion. I'm an Olympic champion. He might be 80 or 90 pounds heavier than me, but I ate up guys his size. And until he realizes that, he's going to hear it from me. I'll never turn down a challenge. I've challenged him six times. Finally he took my challenge. I don't care how long I've been out of the sport; one thing I can say is that he'll never beat me. I might never beat him, because I've been out of the sport for so long now. But, give me two weeks on the mat, he's in trouble. It's a lost art for me, but I could still go to nationals and win it."
Scott Steiner will be undergoing a full physical this week at the request of WWF. If he passes, he'll likely be brought in. Steiner has only worked a handful of matches in WWA since WCW folded and he had to literally tape his foot into place because he has no control over his foot due to back and leg issues causing nerve damage. If he doesn't immobilize it, his foot will just flop out of place.
Various notes: Steve Blackman is dealing with some neck problems which is why he's been out (he never comes back, that injury pretty much retires him). Kurt Angle's brother Eric Angle, who's been signed to a developmental deal for awhile now, is needing another bicep surgery (yeah injuries keep him from ever really making it out of developmental). Steve Austin is taping a bunch of stuff for MadTV.
In the UK, on SkyTV, all references to "WWF" have been changed to "WWFE" due to the World Wildlife Fund lawsuit. The case is being appealed, but if WWF loses, they will have to stop using the "WWF" initials for marketing purposes outside of the U.S., meaning all website stuff, magazines, TV shows, everything using "WWF" would have to be changed. Can you imagine?
Speaking of developmental, down in HWA, Tough Enough winner Maven is getting good reviews. He survived a lot of ribbing when he first came in due to the way he got his contract, and it would have been easy for him to get a big head or bad attitude, but he's worked hard and gotten himself over with the other wrestlers because he's humble and recognizes that he still has a lot of work to do.
Ron Killings (formerly K-Kwik) did an interview talking about his recent release from WWF and he was cool about it, saying these things happen and he's still going to keep working. He did say he was frustrated because no one ever gave him a reason why he was released and after the fact, neither Jim Ross or Vince McMahon would return his phone calls.
Apparently in a recent discussion with one of the Nevada athletic commission doctors, Triple H was talking to him about UFC running so many shows in Nevada and Triple H apparently said, in all seriousness, "Don't you know that stuff is all fake?" For what it's worth, Dave says a lot of wrestlers are like that, so inside the wrestling bubble, that they think everything is a work.
WEDNESDAY:more on Scott Hall's latest incident, more on NWO and brand split, WWF and DirecTV dispute ends, Kevin Nash sues Time Warner, and more...
2019.12.30 00:07 tom275boUndisputed Drunken Ass of Oneselves "Championship" History
I recently watched this video in which Brian Zane of Wrestling With Wregret and Adam Blampied, formerly of WhatCulture, review the infamous, Heroes of Wrestling PPV. At 20:12, Zane describes Jake 'The Snake' Roberts as "The undisputed drunken ass of oneself". So, going by wrestling championship rules, here is the complete history of the 'Drunken Ass of Oneselves' championship (or DAoO championship for short). (For the sake of this you can win it in Battle Royales & Royal Rumbles as well as pinning/submitting your opponent. Dark Matches DO NOT count.) (matches sourced from http://www.profightdb.com/)
Heroes Of Wrestling
10th October 1999
DAoO Championship "debuts"
29th January 2005
17 Man Battle Royale
27th August 2005
10th September 2005
WWE Heat #373 Taping
17th October 2005
WWE Monday Night Raw
17th October 2005
18 Man Battle Royale
WWE Monday Night Raw
25th October 2005
Triple Threat vs Kane and The Big Show
WWE Taboo Tuesday
1st November 2005
Triple Threat vs Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle
Rob Van Dam
WWE One Night Stand
11th June 2006
Extreme Rules Match
WWE Monday Night Raw
3rd July 2006
Triple Threat No Disqualification vs John Cena and Rob Van Dam
17th September 2006
WWE Cyber Sunday
13th November 2006
'Champions Of Champions' Triple Threat vs John Cena and The Big Show
WWE Survivor Series
26th November 2006
WWE Wrestlemania 23
1st April 2007
WWE Smackdown Tapings
8th May 2007
WWE Monday Night Raw
14th May 2007
WWE Judgment Day
20th May 2007
Rob Van Dam
WWE One Night Stand
3rd June 2007
NWE Canarias Tour - Day 4
15th June 2008
Hulkamania Let The Battle Begin - Day 4
28th November 2009
JCW Legends & Icons
12th August 2011
15 Man Battle Royale
JCW Bloodymania V
14th August 2011
OVW Homecoming 5
27th September 2011
21 Man Battle Royale
OVW Homecoming 7
29th April 2012
OVW Saturday Night Special (July '12)
7th July 2012
Evening Gown Match
OVW TV Taping #675
25th July 2012
OVW Saturday Night Special (August '12)
4th August 2012
17th August 2012
Triple Threat vs Taeler Hendrix and Heidi Lovelace
OVW Saturday Night Special (November '12)
3rd November 2012
Triple Threat vs Taeler Hendrix and Josette Bynum
OVW TV Taping #691
14th November 2012
OVW Saturday Night Special (December '12)
1st December 2012
Loser Gets Dumped In A Pool Of Doggy Doo
TNA TNA Live
15th March 2013
TNA One Night Only - Knockout Knockdown Taping
17th March 2013
9 Woman Battle Royale
TNA One Night Only - 10 Reunion Taping
17th March 2013
23rd May 2013
TNA iMPACT! Taping: Hardcore Justice '13
15th August 2013
Triple Threat vs Mickie James and Gail Kim
TNA iMPACT! Taping
15th August 2013
TNA iMPACT! #477
29th August 2013
2 Out of 3 Falls
TNA TNA Live
30th August 2013
TNA iMPACT! Taping #480
12th September 2013
TNA Bound for Glory '13
20th October 2013
Triple Threat vs O.D.b. and Brooke Tessmacher
TNA iMPACT! Taping #495 Part 1
4th December 2013
TNA iMPACT! Taping #501
31st January 2014
TNA TNA Live
7th February 2014
TNA iMPACT! Taping #510
11th April 2014
TNA One Night Only - World Cup '14 Taping
12th April 2004
TNA TNA Live
18th April 2014
TNA Sacrifice '14
27th April 2014
TNA One Night Only: Knockouts Knockdown 2 Taping
10th May 2014
Gauntlet Match vs Angelina Love, Brooke Tessmacher, Gail Kim, Marti Belle, Mia Yim, Reby Sky, and Taryn Terrell
TNA IMPACT! Taping #522
20th June 2014
Fatal 4-Way vs Brittany, Madison Rayne, and Angelina Love
TNA Xplosion Taping
25th June 2014
TNA BaseBrawl Event
18th July 2014
TNA One Night Only: Rivals
6th September 2014
TNA Impact Taping #535
16th September 2014
Triple Threat vs Taryn Terrell and Angelina Love
TNA Impact Taping #536
17th September 2014
TNA Impact Taping #540
19th September 2014
Triple Threat vs Havok and Gail Kim
TNA One Night Only: Knockouts Knockdown 3
15th February 2015
Battle Royale vs Brooke Tessmacher, Gail Kim, Havok, Madison Rayne, Rebel, Rosita, and Taryn Terrell
TNA Impact Tapings #555
15th March 2015
TNA Impact Tapings #565
25th June 2015
TNA Impact Taping
25th July 2015
TNA TNA Live - The Road To BFG Tour
19th September 2015
TNA Bound For Glory '15
4th October 2015
TNA One Night Only: Knockouts Knockdown '16
17th March 2016
TNA One Night Only: Knockouts Knockdown '16
17th March 2016
Gauntlet Battle Royale vs Allysin Kay, Barbi Hayden, Laura Dennis, Madison Rayne, Marti Belle, Rebel, and Rosemary
TNA Impact Tapings
19th March 2016
7-Way vs Gail Kim, Jade, Madison Rayne, Marti Bell, Rebel, and Velvet Sky
TNA Bound For Glory '16
2nd October 2016
GFW Impact! - Destination X 2017
17th August 2017
SMASH (Canada) 100
17th September 2017
Impact Wrestling Bound for Glory '17
5th November 2017
Triple Match vs Allie and Sienna
SMASH (Canada) CANUSA Classic 2017
3rd December 2017
Bar Wrestling 11: April O'Neil
12th April 2018
SHIMMER Volume 104
15th April 2018
WWE Mae Young Classic 2018 Tapings - Second Round, Quarterfinals, and Semifinals
9th August 2018
WWE Mae Young Classic 2018 Tapings - Second Round, Quarterfinals, and Semifinals
9th August 2018
WWE Mae Young Classic 2018 Tapings - Second Round, Quarterfinals, and Semifinals
9th August 2018
NXT Orlando Show
28th September 2018
Battle Royale (I think?) vs Aliyah, Dakota Kai, Deonna Purrazzo, Io Shirai, Jessamyn Duke, Kavita Devi, Lacey Evans, Lacey Lane, M. J. Jenkins, Marina Shafir, Nikki Cross, Reina Gonzalez, Taynara Conti, Vanessa Borne, and Xia Li
NXT Orlando Show
28th September 2018
Kay Lee Ray
NXT UK TV Tapings - Download Festival 2019 - Day 1
2019.12.29 03:30 KezymaWhole-History Ratings - End of 2019 MMA Rankings Report
Previous Posts & Full Ratings Here's the final post of the year, presenting the current rankings in the Whole-History rating system at the end of 2019. I'm looking forward to continuing the project next year and hopefully improving the overall accuracy. Presented below are the top 15 in every weight class as of December 23rd. With very little activity happening before the end of the year, these shouldn't change much, if at all, before the start of 2020, the implementation is still a work in progress, but far more developed than when I was first posting about it earlier in the year. Yes, some fighters are going to be ranked in places you disagree with, I can personally point to numerous places where I'd personally rank a fighter differently, but the point of this rating system isn't to take into account every possible detail, it's meant to rank fighters purely based on the wins and losses on their record. So far the rating system has a historic accuracy of 66% when predicting fights with a rating advantage, which is comparable to betting odds and an improvement on many other popular rating systems as well as not being subject to personal bias like the 'official' UFC rankings.
Thanks to my recent investigation, I can now provide the table below, which, given two fighters ratings, you can calculate the chance of the favourite winning the fight based on historic data. This might make it clearer just how closely rated fighters are at the top of each division.
Some useful caveats for the following lists, just as reminders, I've left individual notes next to tables with some more specific information. I've also marked all current champions (in their respective organisations) in bold;
All ratings are generated pound-for-pound and if a fighter has recently moved to a different weight class, their rating will not have adjusted much until they've had a few fights.
All weight classes are based on the weigh their fight was at, in the case of ONE and some other promotions, their weight cutting changes mean their weight classes have different names, these differences are not handled by the rating system.
A fighter remains active in a given weight class for 18 months since their last fight at that weight class, some fighters may have fought at a different weight only once, recently moved to a different weight class or even retired and still appear in the rankings.
Comparisons of the top fighters across different promotions are extremely difficult to do since they're always fighting against lower-rated opponents within their own promotion and not between each other across promotion, this can lead to some over or under inflation of top fighters.
The only data used to generate these ratings were the dates and outcomes of fights, the method of victory is not taken into account. Disqualifications and No Contests are excluded as they don't improve the accuracy of ratings.
Junior dos Santos
Daniel Cormier is still rated above Stipe Miocic despite beating him as his rating was far ahead of Miocic's rating at the time of their fight, mostly as a result of Cormier's career at Light-Heavyweight.
Tito Ortiz still appears in the rankings as a result of taking extremely favourable wins, preventing his rating from decreasing, albeit not increasing much either.
Luke Rockhold's rating is mostly based around his career at Middleweight.
Rafael Lovato Jr.
Rory MacDonald is only included due to his single fight with Gegard Mousasi, his rating is based on his fights at Welterweight and he should be removed from the ranking 18 months after his fight with Mousasi.
Rafael dos Anjos
AJ McKee Jr.
Max Holloway is only included due to his single fight with Dustin Poirier, his rating is based on his fights at Featherweight and he should be removed from the ranking 18 months after his fight with Poirier.
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE: 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000
"2001 will never be looked back upon as being a great year for wrestling," so writes Dave Meltzer. And with that, we have come to the end of the Observer Rewinds.
The issue opens with a long recap of the major stories of the past year. Throughout the world, every single professional wrestling organization did worse than the year before it. In 2000, Time Warner attempted to sell WCW for $600 million. A year later, they sold it for $2.5 million. And realistically, WCW was actually sold for a loss, because Time Warner was still on the hook for $15 million in wrestling contracts that WWF didn't pick up. And of course, ECW folded as well. A bunch of struggling start-ups began in their place and Dave doesn't seem hopeful for the long-term prospects of WWA or XWF. All in all, 2001 was the year that changed the wrestling industry forever. Anyway, Dave recaps the entire year, going month-by-month in great detail on all the top stories throughout. It's pretty much just rehashing old news, so let's keep it moving...
Dave gives a long recap of the latest PRIDE show and man, this is shaping up to be a kinda slow issue to end the Rewinds on. The only notable wrestling related news out of the show was Antonio Inoki hyping up his New Year's Eve show, which Dave says is on the verge of falling apart because people keep pulling out and of course, IWGP champion Kazuyuji Fujita had to back out due to injury.
Speaking of MMA, Dos Caras Jr. (Alberto Del Rio) had to pull out of a scheduled fight after suffering a shoulder injury days before. He was replaced by Mexican wrestling legend Canek, fighting at 49 years old. Canek fought with his mask on and defeated another pro wrestler in the shoot. Canek was said to look impressive, especially considering his age (eh, I dunno about all that. Judge for yourself:)
Keiji Muto vs. Toshiaki Kawada for the AJPW Triple Crown title has been announced for February. Dave expects Kawada to win the title. The original plan, when Muto won the belt back in June, was for him to be a short-term transitional champion and drop the belt to Kawada a month later. But then Muto started having amazing MOTY quality matches and got super over. So AJPW decided to delay the Muto/Kawada match for as long as they could and now Muto's planned short transitional reign is currently going on 6 months and counting. But Dave thinks they've put off the Kawada match as long as they could (indeed, Kawada wins the title from Muto in February).
The main event of NJPW's upcoming Jan. 4th Tokyo Dome show has been changed to Jun Akiyama vs. Yuji Nagata for the NOAH world title. Needless to say, having NJPW's biggest show of the year headlined by a title match for another promotion is pretty strange, but Fujita's injury left them with few options. As for the IWGP title, Fujita is expected to vacate it and the fate of the belt will be decided in February. There will likely be a tournament, but they aren't making any plans yet because they're waiting to see how Yuji Nagata does in his shoot fight at the New Year's Eve Inoki show (in other words, if he gets his ass beat, chances are they aren't going to put the IWGP title on him a month later).
Inoki is hinting about coming out of retirement. Reportedly, he wants somewhere between $500K-$1 million to do a match and no word if anyone is going to pay it (apparently not, because he never did).
Superstar Billy Graham was hospitalized all of last week due to cirrhosis of the liver due to Hepatitis C. Dave notes that Graham needs a liver transplant (he gets one in 2002).
Hulk Hogan appeared on an episode of ESPN's Unscripted and what a mess that was. The show was hyped as Hogan revealing his true feelings about Vince McMahon and WWF and host Chris Connelly hyped up all the dirt Hogan was going to spill. Instead, Hogan showed up and pretty much kissed Vince's ass in an attempt to get himself rehired by WWF, all while Connelly looked as though he had been bamboozled. Hogan was his typical self, portraying himself as the biggest star in the business today (maybe in the past, but it's 2001 now). He also pretty much buried all of today's generation of wrestlers in general, but when specific names were brought up (Rock, Austin, Triple H, etc.) Hogan was quick to praise each of them individually. Of course, it wouldn't be a Hogan interview without some big dumb lies. He claimed his recent XWF match with Curt Hennig was only supposed to go 10 minutes but once he got in the ring, he felt so good that they ended up going for 30 minutes instead (in case you're wondering, the full unedited match was actually less than 6 minutes). He claimed that at Wrestlemania 3, Andre The Giant was 700 pounds (no) and that he "pressed Andre over his head" and slammed him in front of 94,000 people. Hogan heaped praise on Triple H, which Dave says is smart for a guy trying to get rehired because Triple H has a lot of political power backstage these days. The host tried to get Hogan to say anything negative about Vince McMahon, but Hogan wasn't biting. Talked about how steroids were legal back when he used them (they weren't) and on and on and on.
After Randy Savage tried to challenge Hogan to a match for a children's hospital charity without consulting Hogan, Savage went ahead and donated $10,000 to the hospital anyway. WWA promoter Andrew McManus held a press conference with Savage and also donated an additional $10,000 to the hospital and then announced Savage was joining WWA and that he will appear on their February PPV (Savage was scheduled to face Jeff Jarrett at that show in the main event but he no-shows and is replaced by Brian Christopher). Dave is glad they donated money to the hospital, but they pretty much just did it to promote their event. But that's a time honored tradition in wrestling. In the 90s, every time Vince McMahon got into trouble with the media about something, there would always be some highly publicized charity donation soon after. Anyway, aside from one appearance in a WCW battle royal back in early 2000, Savage hasn't made an appearance in wrestling in almost 3 years. Dave thinks it'll be interesting to see if Savage's name still means anything when it comes to drawing on PPV for a promotion without TV.
Vader was supposed to work a match against Samoa Joe for UPW but had to pull out due to knee surgery. He's promised to work a make-up date for them when he's healed. Instead, Konnan was brought in to face Joe in the main event. Shinya Hashimoto was there as well and cut a promo issuing an open challenge for the NWA title. A bunch of UPW guys came out and Hashimoto basically laid all of them out by himself. Yuji Nagata and Don Frye were also backstage (Dave notes Nagata has been training in Los Angeles for the Inoki show). UPW is also planning to do a worked-shoot type of show in conjunction with UFC fighter Tito Ortiz.
More on Comedy Central reportedly buying the AWA tape library. I guess there's something to this. Comedy Central is working on a pilot for a show called The Huge World of Wrestling which is basically expected to be old wrestling footage with studio commentary to make fun of it or something (this obviously never happened and WWE later bought the footage from Gagne, which leads me to believe Comedy Central didn't actually buy the library, they probably just leased rights to some footage that they never ended up using).
Former WWF star Ahmed Johnson made his acting debut in a VH-1 television movie about the life of MC Hammer. Johnson played the role of Suge Knight, the head of Death Row Records. Dave hasn't seen it but hears Ahmed's acting ability was somehow even worse than his wrestling ability.
Jake Roberts was booked for an indie show in England but when he showed up, there were only 32 fans in the audience. Roberts reportedly told the promoter that he has a hard enough time getting motivated to work in front of 400 people, much less 32, and walked out of the building, never to return.
Kevin Nash is still trying to play WWF and WWA against each other. Reportedly, WWF has very little interest in Scott Hall and originally, Nash refused to go to WWF if they wouldn't bring in Hall. But he's said to have softened his stance on that and may be willing to come in alone and may also be willing to work more dates, since that's the big hurdle between he and WWF. But Dave suspects he might just be telling the WWA side this in order to get them to up their offer for him.
In the XWF wrestling section, Dave slips in a brief story about the XFL. Nothing newsworthy or anything, just recapping some article about the XFL that was written in a sports journal magazine. But I just find it funny that Dave can't even be bothered to throw this into the WWF section and puts it under the XWF section instead because, fuck it, 2 out of 3 letters is close enough right?
Eddie Guerrero has had talks with XWF about coming in soon, but nothing has been finalized as of press time (never happens).
The autopsy of Russ Haas has revealed that his cause of death was a heart attack, which was suspected after the previous one he had suffered a couple months prior.
The planned WWF brand split has once again been delayed. It was tentatively scheduled to take place on next week's Raw from Madison Square Garden, but no longer. It will likely be sometime after the Royal Rumble but no word when. As a matter of fact, Dave heard an idea for how to split the brands and he actually thinks it's a pretty decent idea. You put the entire roster in the Rumble, (which would probably be around 50 wrestlers rather than the usual 30 but whatever) and all the even numbered wrestlers end up on one side while the odd numbers end up on the other. That would add excitement to the entire Rumble match (rather than the usual long, dull spots that the match often has) and would make every entrant matter. Doing it this way would also mean they could avoid doing a draft, because if they do a draft, that means all the lower draft picks are automatically seen as jobbers. This way, it seems random and nobody is made to look like the last kid picked for a team. None of this will happen of course, but it's an idea someone mentioned to Dave and he thinks it could work (I still like this idea).
The Hardyz and Lita have been taken off TV, which is why they were pretty much beaten like jobbers and buried by Undertaker on TV last week. In particular, there's been issues with Jeff Hardy lately, which came to a head when he no-showed a house show in San Jose a couple weeks ago. Jeff has also been late for a few shows lately and his in-ring work has been below par (Dave says, given all the insane, career-shortening bumps he's taken over the years, it's surprising it took this long). After the Jeff vs. Matt angle flopped, Vince McMahon called all 3 of them into a meeting and said he was taking them off TV for awhile to give them a chance to breathe and go away for awhile so fans will miss them a little bit. They're still expected to work house shows for now, but no TV. Dave says there's always a shelf-life to certain acts and the Hardyz have been floundering for awhile, particularly after Triple H cut Jeff's momentum off at the knees and Lita got treated like a jobber by Chyna before she left. If this was still the territory days, it would be time for them to move on and go to a new territory but alas, that's no longer an option (they're only off TV for a few weeks. They work the Rumble at the end of January and then disappear from TV for another month before returning to TV full-time in February. Together as a tag team again, with no mention of the fact that they were supposedly split up the last time we saw them. Anyway, yeah from all reports, this is around the time Jeff's personal issues first really started to show. He eventually gets fired from WWE in 2003 for refusing to go to rehab).
Notes from Raw: the show was pre-taped since it was on Christmas Eve. Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo are basically doing a "Dude, Where's My Car?" gimmick with a slightly gay twist. Dave thinks Palumbo looks ridiculous with bleached blonde hair and says Billy Gunn looked like Stan Lane "in need of charisma bypass surgery." Arn Anderson made an on-screen return in a backstage skit. Tough Enough winner Maven worked a match with Booker T and got a big pop and actually showed more in-ring skill than half the people on the show, but that's a pretty low bar because this was a bad episode for wrestling. The show was in Miami and Rock came out wearing a Miami Hurricanes jersey (he played football for them in college) and he got a monstrous reaction for that. Otherwise, not much to this show.
Earthquake/John Tenta got a try-out match at the latest Smackdown tapings. He's 38 and word is he looked really slow (he has a couple of tryout matches during this period, but he doesn't get hired).
On the Sunday Night Heat tapings, they had Billy Gunn beat Albert. As mentioned, Gunn and Palumbo are doing a gay gimmick now and during the match, Albert actually called Palumbo a "little f*ggot" which Dave seems pretty disgusted by. Yikes.
WWF has booked a few shows in Asia for March, including one in Japan for the first time in 7 years. Dave notes that WWF does have a television deal in Japan, but it only does about half the ratings that NOAH does and maybe 1/3 of what NJPW does, and all three shows are in similar time slots. So WWF is just really not that popular there. Regardless, if they bring both Rock and Austin, Dave suspects they'll still do pretty well.
There was another incident with Perry Saturn beating up a jobber, but this time it may have been deserved. It was a match with Saturn against a guy named Brian Gamble. During the match, Gamble stopped selling and started telling Saturn that this was his hometown and he had to win the match and couldn't look weak. So he started refusing to go off his feet and on two different occasions, he double crossed Saturn on planned spots and kicked him in the head instead of doing what they were planning. At this point, Saturn kicked Gamble's face in, forced him onto the mat, and put his submission on him. Gamble refused to tap and wouldn't cooperate, so Saturn had to really cinch the move in and twist his arm and finally, Gamble tapped. Backstage, people could tell something was wrong and when Gamble came back and they asked what happened, he said he didn't want to look weak and lose in front of all his friends and family who were there. Naturally, Vince McMahon was furious. Afterwards, both men were being checked by the trainer and they almost got into another altercation. Saturn mentioned the incident a couple years ago with jobber Mike Bell (look it up if you're not familiar) and told Gamble that he's lucky he didn't beat the shit out of him the same way he did Bell. Saturn was almost fired over the Bell incident and that's why he was hesitant to beat the shit out of Gamble, even though this time, the jobber actually deserved it. Gamble responded that Saturn was the lucky one because he would have beaten the shit out of him instead. Some people got between them and Gamble was then thrown out of the building and Dave doesn't expect we'll ever be seeing him again (nope).
There have been talks between WWF and Rey Mysterio but nothing really agreed to yet. Obviously, Mysterio's size works against him in WWF and as far as his career prospects, it's probably not the best place for him to be, unless WWF decides to start seriously pushing smaller guys. And Dave doesn't see that happening. But money-wise, WWF is pretty much the only game in town and he'll make a lot more money there than he would in Mexico or working indies.
And with that.......the Observer Rewind is in the books. I have a lot more to say though, so if you'll indulge me one last time, please follow me to THIS LINK.
Promotion: World Wrestling Federation Date: January 5th, 1980 Location: Hamburg, Pennsylvania, USA Arena: Fieldhouse Commentary by: Bruno Sammartino & Vince McMahon Facts: It was Saturday, under the sign of Capricorn. The US president was Jimmy Carter. In that special week of January people in the US were listening to Please Don't Go by K.C and the Sunshine Band. In the UK There's No One Quite Like Grandma by St Winifred's School Choir was in the top 5 hits. Just Tell Me What You Want, directed by Sidney Lumet, was one of the most viewed movies released in 1980 while Cruel Shoes by Steve Martin was one of the best selling books. If you liked video games you were probably playing Boxing or Space Panic. A quick opening definitely highlights Andre the Giant as one of the main stars. Vince and Bruno Sammartino are both on commentary. Bruno looks uncomfortable. They both look hilarious in their canary yellow suits. I think I heard that Doctor Zahorian is in attendance too.
The Great Hussein Arab (w/Classy Freddie Blassie) vs. Tito Santana - ★
The Great Hussein is an early name for The Iron Sheik. He works over Tito pretty early and the two don’t really put on that much of a match, to begin with. Freddie Blassie is wearing an awful pink smart suit. He looks hilarious. Tito starts mounting a comeback, and the crowd doesn’t seem to care. It’s not long before the headlocks start to come into play. It’s made worse with the ending. A complete schmohz. My first match into this thing and it was a dud.
Ken Patera (w/The Grand Wizard) vs. Bill Berger - ★
I wonder about this one… Ken Patera is built like a brick shithouse with a giant blonde afro. He is taking on some jabroni Vince calls Bill Booger. It’s pretty one-sided. Patera does the usual schtick. He runs around the ring. He does his calisthenics. It’s a routine. Berger just looks on slack-jawed. Ken moves in for the attack, wearing Berger down with a long headlock before moving into various power moves. Rince, repeat. The best part of the match was Vince calling Patera a great example for young people to follow. So far… All Star Wrestling isn’t cutting it. This is going to be a long series.
Vince McMahon interviews The Grand Wizard & Ken Patera
I hadn’t actually heard The Grand Wizard before this interview. I actually liked it. He was just going through the usual manager banter, but he did it really well and with a certain panache. Ken Patera on the other hand was not that.
Hulk Hogan (w/Classy Freddie Blassie) vs. Angelo Gomez & Ben Ortiz - ★★
Now this is what I am talking about. Hulk Hogan looked like a freak of nature out there. He was making these large wrestlers look so small. Hogan didn’t have the best offence. But his offence looked good. He was still really green and he moved really slowly. But he was definitely getting there. Oddly enough, Hogan was wrestling in white trunks and he had a full head of hair. An oddity for me since this is the earliest Hogan match I’ve seen. Hogan wins and gets a very lukewarm reaction.
Bruno Sammartino interviews Hulk Hogan & Freddie Blassie
Sammartino is caught off guard for this interview. He talks with Freddie Blassie about the lack of Hogan’s wrestling skills. Then Hogan gets onto the mic and says that everyone is looking at the new King of Professional Wrestling. Bruno questions Hogan’s abilities again and Freddie Blassie and he argue as they fade out.
Larry Zbyszko vs. Johnny Rodz - ★★ ½
The Living Legend Larry Z mixes it up with Johnny Rodz in this surprisingly good match. It’s action-packed. It’s not a squash match. It’s a battle between two guys that can go the distance. Both guys really lay it into each other. I am really digging it. Unfortunately, the whole thing ended suddenly when they both collided in midair. Zbyszko made the cover and that was that.
Bobby Duncum (w/Captain Lou Albano) vs. Ron Lee - ★
Bobby Duncum is a good wrestler. But this was not a showcase of that skill. Ron Lee looked like some random asshole they pulled in from the street. And he wrestled like one too. This ladies and gentlemen is your classic squash match.
This was a pretty weak entry point for my little series. It introduced me to the major players. But it wasn’t anything I would care to watch again. If I were a young kid in 1980, I would be looking for something else to watch. Yikes.
2019.05.06 18:00 daprice82Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Mar. 5, 2001
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE: 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000
More uncertainty in WCW, both on-screen and off-screen. After both Nitro and Thunder did all-time record low ratings the week before, Bischoff decided to significantly re-write this week's Nitro at the last minute and brought back Booker T, which totally goes against the long-term angle they were planning, which would be all the top babyface stars (Hogan, Goldberg, Sting, Nash, and Booker T) to come back at once when the company relaunches. But after the low rating, Bischoff evidently panicked and rushed Booker T back to television early. Basically, at this point, no long-term plan is really finalized anymore and the other guys may be brought back sooner. It's all up in the air right now and in the meantime, the "new owners" storyline that has been acknowledged on TV is being slowed down. Why is it being slowed down you ask? Well....
Speaking of up in the air, the off-screen uncertainty is because the WCW/Fusient Media sale nearly fell apart this week. During the final process of examining all the expenses, Fusient discovered that WCW's losses and the downturn in other aspects of the business was worse than they were previously led to believe. All the issues seem to have been mostly worked out as of press time and they still expect to finalize the deal in the next week or two, but for a minute there, it was looking like the whole thing was going to fall apart at the last minute. (Whew, can you imagine?!)
WWF's No Way Out PPV is in the books and was a potential show of the year. Even though the TV product has been stale lately, they've still been delivering strong PPVs but this was even better than usual. It set up the expected Rock vs. Austin main event at Wrestlemania (though Dave says there was some lobbying backstage from a certain someone to make it a three-way. He doesn't say who, but it's pretty obvious he means Triple H, trying to politic his way into the WM main event). Even the matches that looked bad on paper before the show ended up delivering. Trish vs. Stephanie was better than it had any right to be and Dave gives Stratus a ton of credit for carrying Stephanie to a good match and to Stephanie for holding up her end better than expected.
Other notes from the PPV: Austin vs. Triple H in the 2-out-of-3 falls match was a match of the year candidate (this is actually a Three Stages of Hell match, with each fall having a different stipulation, but they weren't calling it that back then). After the finish of the match, someone threw a full can of beer in the ring and hit Austin right in the head while he was laying on the ground. Dave gives the match 4.75 stars. Rock vs. Angle in the main event was also great, getting 4.25 stars. Rock won his 6th WWF title, which is the all-time record (Rock, Hogan and Bret Hart were previously tied at 5 for the record). Dave says that would have been a huge story at one time, but nowadays, title reigns don't mean anything so whatever. The finish looked it got screwed up by Earl Hebner but otherwise, great match that made Angle look like a killer in defeat.
UFC 30 is in the books and it's notable because it's the first show under the new ownership of Zuffa. Behind the scenes, the changes are night and day. Many of the big name fighters, like Mark Coleman and Frank Shamrock, are talking about returning because it's believed UFC will be paying a lot more to fighters now. There's expected to be a much bigger focus on creating stars and putting together matchups fans want to see. The announcers did a lot more hyping up each fighter's personality and storylines in each fight and they aired video packages and things like that for them. The plan is to build Tito Ortiz as the UFC's marquee star and ironically enough, new UFC day-to-day head Dana White used to be Tito's business manager. Fortunately for them, Tito delivered, winning the main event in only 29 seconds. The UFC's matchmaker John Peretti wasn't there and many of the matches were put together by Joe Silva.
XFL Week 4 on NBC did a 2.61 rating, down another 15% from last week (which itself was down 33% from Week 2) and making it one of the lowest rated shows in the history of prime time television on the four major networks. The ratings for the other games weren't much better. The UPN game was down 12% while the TNN game was down 6%. In fact, ECW on TNN occasionally did higher ratings than the XFL games this week and last week on TNN did. So, uh....yeah. Not good news for XFL.
Wrestling ratings news: the Jeff Jarrett vs. Dustin Rhodes main event with Flair as referee set the record for all-time lowest-rated main event in Nitro history. Demographically, it's even worse news, with only 53,000 teens watching (the Raw main event was watched by 1.4 million teens).
Juventud Guerrera worked a show in Mexico and the newspapers reported that he came out in no condition to be wrestling (aka fucked up on something) and criticized his performance and talked about how it was wrong that other wrestlers in the match had to put their safety at risk by working with him.
Legendary Lucha wrestler Fishman lost a mask vs. mask match back in August. He was supposed to be paid more than $26,000 for it. He was paid the first $4,000 but then the checks the promotion sent him for the remaining $22,000 bounced. Later, they tried to give him a new car as payment, but he refused it. Fishman wants his money (this turns into a bit of an issue later on).
Steve Williams' sister passed away this week from stomach cancer. Williams was on tour with AJPW at the time and because they're struggling and because he's the biggest foreign star they have, he decided to stay and continue working the shows he was booked for (sadly enough, Williams himself later dies of cancer also).
Antonio Inoki continued his claims of bringing in Mike Tyson. He held a press conference this week and announced Tyson will be facing Naoya Ogawa in June at the Tokyo Dome in a match that will air on PPV around the world. This led to boxer Lennox Lewis' manager releasing a statement implying that Tyson was scared to fight Lewis and said he's going to go be a pro wrestler in Japan instead. The next day, Tyson's business manager Shelly Finkel told the AP, "Not only is Mike not wrestling there, he has never spoken to these people." Inoki claims Tyson will be getting paid between $40-50 million for the match. Needless to say, this is clearly some ol' Inoki bullshit and it's not happening. Carnies gonna carny.
Don Frye was on the Observer live show and talked about wanting to go to either WWF or UFC and noted that he has had discussions with WWF.
Chris Candido and Tammy Sytch will be working on the upcoming NJPW tour, which is the same tour Scott Hall is working. Dave thinks that's a bit of a dangerous group to have together in one place at the same time if they're trying to stay out of trouble.
Nobuhiko Takada claims he's training to represent Japan at the 2004 Olympics in Greco-roman wrestling. Dave says this is ridiculous because Takada will be 42 by then and he has never competed in amateur wrestling at any level in his life. So needless to say....no.
Mandalay Sports announced a new venture called Matrats. It will apparently be a weekly television show based around crazy high spot wrestling, featuring teenagers as the top stars. The audience is mostly planted female fans who "whooooo!" and go crazy over all the dreamy boy wrestlers, like some sort of N'Sync-esque boy band shit. The top stars are going to be Teddy Hart and Harry Smith (aka Davey Boy Smith Jr.). They have already taped pilot episodes in Calgary and the company has licensing, PPV, sponsorship, and advertising plans in place and are projecting to gross more than $18 million the first year. Umm....sure thing, you guys (Eric Bischoff later gets involved with this briefly after WCW folds. Spoiler: it does not gross $18 million. Or even $18).
The annual independent ECWA Super 8 tournament took place this week, featuring a lot of notable indie guys. In the finals, Low Ki won by defeating American Dragon (Daniel Bryan). Dragon was said to be the star performer of the tournament, having great matches with Spanky and Reckless Youth along with Low Ki (this tournament still takes place each year and features well known indie guys).
Former WCW wrestler Blitzkrieg is looking to get back into wrestling. In 1999, he had the best match of the year in WCW against Juventud Guerrera, and WCW rewarded him for it by releasing him. At that point, he lost interest in wrestling and retired and started working a regular job in the computer industry. He won Rookie of the Year in the Observer Awards for 1999 after he had already retired.
Let's just copy and paste this one: "Roddy Piper is saying that he's going to be doing a rap CD for Death Row Records that will be rap with no profanity saying he's mad after hearing one of his kids play some Eminem music because of the profanity." (I googled this and yup. It was posted on Piper's website. He seemed to be under the impression that Eminem was on Death Row though).
Gonna copy and paste one more, the saddest sentence ever, regarding ECW: "There is no PPV show on 3/11 and at this point, barring something unforeseen, there is no ECW."
Brian Adams of Kronik ended up needing an emergency appendectomy last week which will keep him out of action for about 6 weeks (WCW will be dead by then, but Kronik eventually briefly reunites in WWF).
Just this week, WCW has finally started trying to book venues for April. Due to the planned shutdown, WCW didn't have any shows booked beyond the 3/26 Nitro and hadn't booked any arenas. But with the shutdown scrapped, they're now looking for venues (they probably shouldn't bother). The long-term plan is still to do future Nitro tapings all from one central location but that probably won't be until the summer.
Notes from Nitro: they started a tournament to crown cruiserweight tag team champions. Dave thinks this is a bad idea, because adding new titles to a division that nobody cares about isn't going to make people care more. The Cat resigned his on-screen commissioner role to feud with Kanyon, which Dave is just exasperated by. Literally just a week ago, the whole storyline for the show was The Cat fighting to get his job back and now this week, he quits it. That's about it. Nothing notable happening on TV lately, as WCW continues to be in a holding pattern waiting for this sale to go through. (Only 4 more Nitros left...)
Plans for Ric Flair to write an autobiography have apparently been scrapped. Turns out Goldberg's book was a major flop and the view of many in the publishing industry right now is that people will buy WWF books, but there's no interest in books for anyone outside of WWF.
Arn Anderson has been suspended for 2 weeks by WCW. Dave doesn't have all the details yet but it apparently has something to do with a Luger vs. Palumbo match on Thunder last week that Anderson was the agent for. I guess it didn't come across like it was supposed to on TV and Anderson took the heat for it, enough so that he was suspended (I assume there'll be more on this next week).
WCW has cancelled its developmental deal with indie promotion NWA Wildside. A few WCW wrestlers who were booked to work shows for them in March will fulfill the dates but no more after that (and of course, WCW would end up dying before Wildside did. It's so interesting to see all these little business decisions and plans being made, everything business as usual, with no one knowing at the time that WCW would be dead in less than a month).
Random WCW notes: Lash Leroux was told to lose 20 pounds because they want him in the cruiserweight division and they don't want "chunky" cruiserweights. Gene Okerlund has 2 years left on his contract but hasn't been used in weeks. Despite rumors, neither Joey Styles or Don Callis have been offered contracts.
Stacy Carter (The Kat) was released by WWF this week and, in protest, her husband Jerry Lawler quit the company also. The news came in right at press time so Dave doesn't have all the details yet, so expect a lot more on this next week. But for now, the gist is that Lawler was told the company was going to release Kat and he basically said "if she goes, I go." That apparently wasn't enough to change their mind, so Lawler stuck with his wife and walked out with her. Lawler has said that neither he or Kat have any idea why this happened. There was no incident or anything and Lawler denied rumors that she had refused to do something she was asked. Dave thinks this whole situation could turn out to be pretty interesting because Lawler wears a lot of hats in WWF. He's the lead color commentator for every Raw, Smackdown, and PPV. Plus he's an XFL announcer. And he runs MCW in Memphis, which is a developmental territory for the WWF. It's expected that Tazz will end up getting the job of doing color commentary on all the shows, which is an enormous amount of pressure to put on a guy who has only done commentary a handful of times on Sunday Night Heat. (Tazz indeed takes over for Smackdown, but they end up finding someone else for Raw...)
Hey, speaking of MCW, they drew the biggest crowd in their history, around 4,000 people, for a show in Jonesboro, AR that was headlined by Kurt Angle vs. Triple H for the WWF title. Yeah, that'll do it. Several wrestlers did a run-in at the end of the match, among them being Spanky and American Dragon. They all attacked Triple H to cause the match to end in DQ. Several other WWF wrestlers worked the show also, including William Regal putting over MCW champ Steve Bradley.
Rhino and Prototype both worked dark matches at the Smackdown tapings, with both men doing jobs.
Honda is the first sponsor to drop the XFL. Reportedly it wasn't due to ratings however, with the VP of marketing saying it was due to content. They didn't like all the focus on the scantily-clad cheerleaders, too much cross-promotion with WWF, and they didn't like Rock's recent promo that aired during a game where he took shots at the NFL. The Honda rep also criticized the fanbase, saying it was too downscale for them to associate with, basically implying the XFL fans are all poor losers who can't afford a Honda, so they don't want to advertise to them.
Still more XFL news, none of it good. On the Tonight Show, Jay Leno joked about it, saying, "Apparently the ratings for the XFL are so bad, the executives said, 'Just burn the league for the insurance money.'" Publicly, both Vince McMahon and NBC execs are putting on a brave face and saying they're still committed to the XFL long-term, but privately, it's being said that people within NBC are already looking for a way out of this sinking ship that Vince has dragged them onto. On the WWF side, there has definitely been talk of trying to build more stories into the game with players, coaches, and announcers (such as the recent Jesse Ventura incident with Hitmen coach Rusty Tillman). UPN has a 2-year contract with the XFL but they have the option to drop it after one year. Apparently, a lot of UPN affiliates are pressuring UPN to hurry up and announce that they won't be picking up XFL for a 2nd season so that they can start lining up new programming ASAP. If the ratings don't improve, it's expected the the west coast stations will start carrying XFL games on a 3-hour tape delay. Yet again, across the board, XFL games were dead last in network ratings. The ratings for XFL have dropped at an alarming rate, faster than even the USFL in the 80s (the last failed attempt to compete with the NFL). Desperate to get some kind of mainstream coup, McMahon apparently spoke with Lawrence Taylor about joining the league in some fashion. Attendance is way down and games in most cities are being heavily papered. This week's game at Soldier Field in Chicago was announced at 14,856 but the real number was closer to 12,000. And even that, a large chunk of it was freebies.
NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue has been quiet from the start about the XFL, but he finally addressed it this week during a speech at Yale University. "I was asked (about the XFL) by one of the Yale players at lunch and I have to confess, I've only seen about ten minutes of the XFL. And I can tell you that it was not the most rewarding way I've spent 10 minutes in the last month."
ECW wrestlers Christian York and Joey Matthews signed developmental deals with WWF and are expected to be sent to Memphis soon. The two wrestlers had recently agreed to come in to WCW on a per-appearance deal and were booked for the cruiserweight tag tournament. But they had no contract. So WWF signed them. Dave says all is fair in war and if the roles were reversed, Bischoff would do the same thing. (So there's a fun trivia fact. Most people think Haku was the last person to jump ship during the Monday night wars, but technically, it was York and Matthews. Even though neither of them actually wrestled a match for WCW during this time, they had agreed to and WCW had already started booking plans for them when WWF came calling).
Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley should both be returning to TV soon to set up angles for Wrestlemania. Michaels is expected to have a major role at WM, not in a match, but in some kind of angle to set up for his in-ring return. As for Foley, he'll be involved in Mania, but at this point, it doesn't look like he'll be doing a match either. The plan has always been Foley vs. Vince, but Foley has repeatedly shot down the idea and doesn't have any plans to wrestle again anytime soon.
WEDNESDAY:in-depth look at the scary state of pro wrestling in 2001, more on Jerry Lawler quitting WWF, Paul Heyman debuts in WWF, the XFL in desperation mode, and more...
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE: 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000
After nearly a year of rumors and questions, it was officially announced this week that Time Warner will sell WCW to Fusient Media Ventures, a company owned by Brian Bedol and Stephen Greenberg, with Eric Bischoff being put in charge as WCW President and head of creative. Coincidentally (or not), literally hours after the WCW sale was announced, it was also announced that the Time WarneAOL merger had been completed. Fusient Media Ventures is a company best known for starting up the Classic Sports Network, which was later sold to ESPN and became ESPN Classics. The actual sale is expected to take 30-60 days and in the meantime, changes in WCW will be gradual. But there is already an emphasis being placed on better matches, clean finishes, and less crash TV. Wrestlers were also told to tone down the language, with Bischoff saying WCW's attempt to compete with WWF by sinking to their level has been a failed experiment. In regards to Russo blaming his failures on Turner's standards & practices department, Bischoff called it "a crock that Russo peddled" and said his excuses were "a load of crap."
Time Warner will retain a minority interest in WCW in order to keep the television rights. Terms of the sale have not been revealed publicly, likely because the number is thought to be embarrassingly low (ha! Just wait until the price Vince paid for it is revealed). Someone close to the sources say Fusient bought WCW for "pennies." Just a year ago, SFX was interested in buying WCW and that deal fell apart because Time Warner wanted $600 million for it. And now it's sold for probably less than a fraction of that. There's some concern about Fusient as a company because a lot of their resources are heavy investments in internet start-up companies, an economic sector that has been struggling lately (yeah, this was right about the time that the dot-com bubble was bursting. Which makes one wonder, even if this sale had happened and Bischoff got WCW, how would it have done when all that dot-com money dried up a year later?).
Bischoff has done a lot of interviews since the sale was announced and while he's been vague on a lot of stuff because the details haven't been finalized yet, he's started to give some insight into his future plans for the company. Hulk Hogan is expected to return but probably not until all the lawsuit stuff over the Russo incident is settled. Hogan's existing WCW contract expires in 2 months, so WWF is always a possibility and he's got a lot of offers outside of wrestling as well. The company has no plans to run house shows in the immediate future, but Bischoff hinted that they would eventually return to that. He wants to go back to filming Thunder separately because the combined Nitro/Thunder tapings kill the crowd. He also wants to keep Nitro on Mondays and plans to continue the once-per-month PPV schedule. They're expected to run all tapings out of one location (long rumored to be Las Vegas, but possibly Orlando or Los Angeles) but haven't decided on that yet.
The short-term plan is to shut down WCW temporarily, probably for 3-4 weeks, and then do a full relaunch. Bischoff also made it clear that he's aware that they need to create new stars. He also said no more active talent will be working as bookers. He admitted spreading himself too thin in the past by being an on-screen performer and the backstage boss and Bischoff apparently plans to stay off-screen this time. Many of the wrestlers' contracts are expected to be renegotiated when they come up, so everybody should probably expect paycuts soon. Bischoff is also interested in keeping WCW's relationship with NJPW and has spoken with Masa Saito about keeping it going. In regards to Scott Hall, Bischoff said there's no spot for him in WCW unless he can get his life straight. Same with Juventud Guerrera, who Bischoff said would have to prove himself outside of WCW before ever being given a chance again. In regards to Mark Madden, he seemed unsure if he would bring him back, saying Madden is very talented but needs to know his role and has a tendency to try and get himself over on commentary. Fusient CEO Brian Bedol has apparently been excited about the idea of doing an inter-promotional show with WWF, figuring that McMahon might be open to the idea if the Ted Turner connection was no longer an issue. But Bischoff understands Vince McMahon a little better than Bedol and doesn't see it happening.
WCW isn't the only company being sold, as just a few hours later, it was announced that UFC is being sold to a Las Vegas-based company called Zuffa, which is owned by a Nevada state athletic commission member Lorenzo Ferititta and other members of his family. While they own the company, the day-to-day operations will be ran by Dana White, a former manager for Tito Ortiz. It's believed Zuffa's connections with the athletic commission in Nevada will go a long way towards helping UFC gain a foothold in Vegas, which would be a major stepping stone for rebuilding the promotion. UFC co-founder Bob Meyrowitz called the sale great news for the company but a sad day for him, but guaranteed that UFC would be back on PPV nationwide within 6 months. For now, Zuffa doesn't plan to change anything before their next big show, but they will be taking charge of the company effective almost immediately.
WCW's latest PPV Sin is in the books and it saw Sid Vicious suffer one of the most physically horrifying injuries in the history of sports. It was even worse than the infamous Joe Theisman leg injury, with Sid's leg bending sideways at a 45 degree angle. Sid suffered a compound fracture of the lower leg, snapping both his fibula and tibia. The injury required a 2 hour surgery during which a steel rod was put in his leg. He's expected to be out of action at least 6-8 months (waaaaay longer). During the PPV, the cameras missed the injury when it happened, but they aired the footage the next night on Nitro. Eric Bischoff went back and forth on whether or not to show it, but finally decided to do so. It was a sickening scene and as he was going to the hospital, Sid was in incredible pain (as you can imagine) and his leg had to be held in place to keep it from flopping around. Sid also reportedly went into the match with a serious back injury that they didn't know about either. The match ended early because of Sid's injury, totally screwing up the main angle which was Road Warrior Animal being revealed as the mystery man. It was originally supposed to be Rick Steiner, but they changed it because they felt too many people already knew. Dave says changing your booking plans because a small group of hardcore fans know about the big surprise is bad booking and the kind of Russo-esque shit they need to stop doing. There was no pop whatsoever for the reveal of Animal as the mystery man and the crowd just seemed kinda confused by the whole thing. There was also the obvious fact that Sid was injured, as blood was getting all over the ring (because the bone stabbed through the skin) while he was taken out on a stretcher. The planned finish of the main event was for Sid to be making a comeback during Animal's entrance and then Animal would turn on Sid so Steiner could pin him, but they obviously had to improvise. Even if things had gone according to plan, Dave can only shake his head at WCW pinning their hopes on yet another washed up 80s star to play a key role in the main event scene.
So....here's the leak break. Most of us have seen this before I'm sure. But if you haven't, watch at your own risk.
Other notes from the PPV: because of the impending sale, everyone had their working boots on, figuring their job probably depends on how hard they work. As a result, a lot of the matches were good and for the first half of the show, it felt like the 96-98 glory days again. The show also drew 4,600+ paid which is better than they've been doing, so that's a positive. Dave thinks Kaz Hayashi is an incredible talent and says WCW is stupid if they don't do something more with him in the future. The tag match he was in was the show-stealer (4.25 stars) but not a single one of the guys in the match was even mentioned on Nitro the next night, so....same ol' WCW so far. They did an angle with Goldberg losing his match and therefore being forced to retire, which of course nobody takes seriously in wrestling anyway and especially not in WCW. It's just another stipulation that they're going to eventually go back on and further erode the trust of their audience. And the main event was terrible even before Sid was injured and Dave gives it -2 stars.
Oh fuck me, Dave decides to do an in-depth dive on the issue of guaranteed contracts in wrestling and whether guaranteed money makes wrestlers lazy and unmotivated as opposed to incentive-based deals. Dave disagrees and points out once again that wrestlers are actually still way underpaid compared to the revenue a company like WWF makes or what WCW was making a few years ago. Now, of course, many of WCW's wrestlers are overpaid because they don't have the revenue coming in anymore. But in 2000, even if every single wrestler in the company had worked for free, WCW still would have had tens of millions in losses. In WWF, they're still underpaid, but that's their fault. Management in any company is never going to just give away money to be nice. If wrestlers want to be paid what they're worth, they should unionize. But they won't, so moot point. As for whether wrestlers are lazier or work harder depending on what they're paid, Dave thinks it's deeper than that. Look at ECW. For years, they've been paid less than anyone in the other two companies, but you won't find a roster that works harder than ECW's. Even when the checks aren't coming, they have a roster motivated to try and steal the show because Heyman makes them feel appreciated and has always rewarded people who got over with more opportunities to move up the card. What killed WCW morale was a lack of discipline, favoritism and double-standards for top stars, and everyone feeling like there's no upward mobility and no appreciation for hard work. Guys who came into the company hungry to prove themselves eventually had the passion beaten out of them after years of being held down and eventually just started going through the motions to collect a check. He talks about how guys would have show-stealing matches on PPV and then aren't even on the show for weeks after (see Kaz Hayashi as mentioned above). In WWF, you have someone like Jeff Hardy who can't cut a promo to save his life, but he's one of the most popular stars in the company because of his exciting in-ring skills. If WCW had Jeff Hardy, he'd still be killing himself in opening matches, being ignored by commentary, and never pushed. But in WWF, as soon as he started getting a reaction, they got behind him and pushed him. This just goes on and on and doesn't really make a point, it's mostly just an examination of how WCW killed the morale of its own locker room and that's why the inmates running the asylum don't give a shit anymore. But nothing particularly newsworthy.
Now that the Observer awards for 2000 have been named, Dave decides to give his thoughts on the winners and what he agrees and disagrees with the voters on. Wrestler of the year was won by Triple H and Dave won't argue it though he might have picked Rock. Most Outstanding wrestler was won by Benoit, but Dave says Triple H actually had more in-ring great matches in 2000 and thinks he should have won. Dave knew Rock would win Best Interview, but thinks Foley should have won because his promos have more heart and depth to them, while Rock is all about delivery. Foley won the Best Brawler award for the 10th year in a row and Dave strongly disagrees. He had 2 matches in 2000 that everyone remembers (both of which involved Triple H) and that's it, then he was retired for most of the year. Dave thinks Triple H should have won that as well. He also disagrees with Match of the Year, saying he would have picked Otani & Takaiwa vs. Kanemoto & Tanaka. Tony Schiavone won worst announcer and Dave disagrees with that, saying Schiavone only comes across that badly because he's forced to call such a terrible product. He gives it to Women of Wrestling announcer Lee Marshall. Arquette winning the WCW title won Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic, but Dave thinks putting the title on Russo later in the year was worse, because it proved they didn't learn anything from Arquette. David Flair should have won Worst Wrestler and Dave is befuddled that he didn't. Vince Russo won Worst Non-Wrestler and Dave thinks it should have gone to Debra, Major Gunns, or Judy Bagwell instead. Vince McMahon won Best Booker, which is obvious. But Heyman got 2nd place for that award and Dave doesn't understand why. Putting aside all the business problems, 2000 wasn't exactly a great year for ECW creatively either.
AJPW is advertising RVD and Sabu for their upcoming tour in February. RVD says they were offered to work the tour but neither of them has actually officially agreed to yet, but that didn't stop AJPW from promoting it (they both do end up working the shows).
The turmoil surrounding the American wrestling industry is leading to an influx of American wrestlers looking for work in Japan. But the pickings are slim there also. NJPW is cutting back on foreign talent for budget reasons (it costs more to bring them in) and since the big money is with the homegrown talent and the NJPW/AJPW angle, there's no reason to bring in foreigners right now. A lot of guys are reaching out to AJPW also, but they're not really familiar with any of the new talent. Motoko Baba apparently ain't keeping tabs, so if you haven't worked for AJPW before in the past, she doesn't really know who anyone is and therefore, they're not really interested. Not to mention, AJPW has its own struggles right now. Same with FMW, which is working on a shoestring budget. NOAH can afford to bring people in, but Misawa only wants to bring in a select few foreigners that he knows well and feels comfortable dealing with (as you can see, the deaths of WCW and ECW are about to put a lot of people out of work).
There's been a rumor going around that Jim Cornette is planning to start up a new promotion in California using Japanese wrestlers. Dave says no truth to it at all and that Cornette is actually working his dream job right now in OVW. He works with hungry young wrestlers who are eager to learn, he gets to book television and house shows, and doesn't have to deal with the pressure of turning a profit. And best of all, it's virtually no travel for him since all the shows are in the Louisville area where he lives.
Sable is filming a role in an upcoming movie called "Corky Romano" starring Chris Kattan and Peter Falk.
XPW ran its first show in months, and it featured the debut of New Jack, who cut a promo talking about how he quit ECW. A lot of people were surprised to see New Jack work the show since he was so involved in the ECW vs. XPW brawl several months ago at the ECW PPV, where he attacked several XPW wrestlers and crew.
RVD appeared on the Observer Live radio show and talked about why he appeared at the recent ECW PPV. He said he and Heyman worked out a deal for him to be paid for that appearance as a one-time thing and that their other issues regarding past due payments are still unresolved. He said he has no interest in working an indie schedule and wants to sign full-time with someone. He would prefer to stay in ECW if their money situation ever miraculously gets worked out but he was realistic about that and says he knows it's probably never going to happen. His agent has had meetings with WWF but RVD himself hasn't met with them yet. As for WCW, he said he hasn't spoken with Eric Bischoff in a long time.
More bad news on the TV front for ECW, as their regularly scheduled show didn't air in Philadelphia either.
At the PPV, Rhino, who is the ECW TV champion, cut a promo saying he didn't want the TV title ("Why am I the ECW world television champion when this fuckin' poor ass company don't even have TV!" as he so eloquently put it) and wanted the world title instead. So even though he's the TV champion, he didn't have the belt. The reason is because someone stole the actual belt a few weeks ago so they don't have it anymore. (Fun fact, not only was Rhino the final ECW world champion, a lot of people don't remember that he was also the final TV champion. He was a double-champion when the company folded).
Missy Hyatt worked the ECW PPV because she has a new book coming out and is trying to get back into wrestling again to promote it.
ECW held two shows this week, the first in Poplar Bluff, MO in front of about 1,200 fans and they did bring cameras and the show was taped, though it's unknown if any of the footage will air (it didn't. Hey, RealWWE, 'sup on adding this to the Hidden Gems section?). A bunch of ECW's top stars missed the show. RVD only came back for the PPV and was never scheduled to appear, but Jerry Lynn, Steve Corino, Kid Kash, Dawn Marie, Simon Diamond, Johnny Swinger, Big Sal, Chris Hamrick, Balls Mahoney, Mikey Whipwreck, Roadkill, and more all missed it as well. Word is Corino and Heyman had a falling out, with Corino asking for his release and was pulled from the show. There was also heat on Corino because Heyman wanted him to blade at the PPV but when Corino found out he was only getting a check for one week's backpay, he refused. A lot of the talent drove to these 2 shows because ECW couldn't afford to fly them out.
The second ECW show this week was a few hundred miles away in Pine Bluff, AR and it was weird because it seemed to many people that this might be the last ECW show. After it was over, all the wrestlers did a big farewell together in the ring and everyone backstage was said to be crying and saying their goodbyes. Tommy Dreamer, who was in charge of running the shows, said they still plan to hold their scheduled PPV in March, but no one seems to be buying that. If this was indeed the final ECW show, it's weird that it happened in a middle-of-nowhere town in a market that ECW has no presence in, with half the roster missing and Heyman not even there. If this really is the end for ECW, Dave wishes they would have a final show at the ECW Arena. Right now, since Heyman is still out wheeling and dealing with networks and investors and trying to save the company, no one wants to admit that this might be the end. Anyway, the main event of this show saw Justin Credible beat Sandman in a regular match. Afterwards, they restarted it as a hardcore match, and Sandman won. After the show was over, both men hugged in the ring, despite their feud. Tommy Dreamer then came to the ring with a trash can filled with beers and the entire locker room hung out together in the ring and drank beers and hugged and cried while the fans cheered.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was indeed the end of the road for ECW. I legitimately got goosebumps writing this. I grew up a wrestling fan, but unfortunately, I never got to experience the real ECW. I lived in Tennessee so I certainly never got to go to a show. I would have killed to be able to go to an ECW Arena show in the mid-90s. I knew about ECW. I saw pictures and read articles about them all the time in the wrestling magazines I used to obsessively buy, but I never had a way to watch them. The TV show wasn't syndicated in Memphis at the time. Then I would occasionally read about them on the internet, but this is late 90s, so it wasn't like I could just pull up Youtube and watch. Eventually they got the national TV deal on TNN but by then, ECW was past its glory days. And to be honest, I never watched that show either. I was 17-years-old and was dating my first real serious girlfriend. I damn sure wasn't staying home on Friday nights to watch wrestling like some kind of NEEEEEERD! So I only occasionally saw bits and pieces. I bought a couple of DVDs in 2000/2001-ish, mostly just "best of" stuff. It was great but I also hadn't followed along weekly so the storylines and stuff were lost on me. My point is, for the most part, I missed ECW's original run entirely and I've always regretted it. But doing these Rewinds has actually been almost like living through it all again. With this issue, I have now read and recapped every single day of ECW's entire run, learned more about the company than I ever knew existed, and learned to appreciate the absolute genius that is Paul Heyman even more. ECW was amazing and getting to relive it vicariously through the Observer has been an absolute pleasure.
Hulk Hogan was on the Bubba the Love Sponge show again and was joking about Mark Madden being fired. Hogan implied that Madden's firing decision was made by Bischoff but didn't outright say so.
With the WCW sale all but done (lol), the hiring freeze appears to be over. The company has reached out to Michael Modest, Christopher Daniels, and others this week to have talks with them. Word is they're also interested in ECW stars Tajiri, Super Crazy, Kid Kash and announcer Joey Styles.
In a staggering example of WCW's ability to continually kick themselves directly in the balls, there's bad news in Australia. Nitro is being moved to Wednesday nights. The reason this is bad news is because she show will have competition....from Thunder. Yup. Both Nitro and Thunder will now air on Wednesday nights in Australia, on separate channels, going head-to-head with each other.
Mick Foley's wife recently gave birth to their 3rd child, Mickey Jr. last week. Foley is also working on finishing his 2nd book which covers other parts of his career not covered in the first book as well as everything that's happened since the first book was published. It also is expected to defend the WWF against some of the PTC's arguments.
Jim Ross did an interview and was asked about RVD and Jerry Lynn. Surprisingly, Ross seemed totally dismissive of RVD, saying WWF only has mild interest in him and if he can get an offer elsewhere, he should take it. Ross said there's a perception out there about RVD having a bad attitude and said no one from WWF has actually met him yet, they've only met with his agent, so until they get to know him personally and see what they think about him, they're not in a hurry to bring him in. Dave mentioned an incident during the 1997 ECW/WWF angle when both RVD and Sabu refused to do jobs to WWF stars on Raw, which certain people in WWF haven't forgotten. As for Lynn, Ross confirmed they're definitely interested in him, but made it clear that WWF won't be signing either man until the ECW situation works itself out one way or another. Basically, until Heyman throws in the towel and says ECW is dead, they're not going to start poaching his stars. That being said, Dave thinks if Eric Bischoff starts offering contracts to these guys, he wouldn't be surprised to see WWF change their tune on that real quick.
WEDNESDAY:WWF Royal Rumble fallout, Kenta Kobashi's injuries finally catch up to him, more on WCW future plans, Shawn Michaels returning to the ring, Hart family drama, and more...
2019.01.25 06:27 freeDtranypandaBellator MMA possible future match ups, storylines for 2019 following Fedor vs. Bader and the conclusion of the Heavyweight Grand Prix
I’ll start with fights that are already booked or has a obvious path to happening: FedoRyan Bader winner vs. (21-0) Vitaly Minakov/Cheick Kongo winner for Bellator Heavyweight title
Vitaly Minakov is finally back with Bellator after nearly 5 years away from the promotion. He has extended his undefeated record to 21-0 with 19 finishes.
He picked up his first decision win in his 3rd fight and then his second and last decision win in his 14th fight vs....... Cheick Kongo! So, he would be on a 17 fight finish streak if not for Kongo
In an interesting turn of events, Minakov’s last fight with Bellator was also against Kongo and now his first fight back will be a rematch with him
It was a grapple heavy affair with Minakov taking 4 rounds to 1, but also being docked a point for karmic nut shots in round 1 vs. the infamous Cup Cheick Kongo
Kongo is 43 years old. Before Francis Ngannou, this is the heavyweight Joe Rogan and us would cream our pants over in fear and ecstasy. Brack obviousry do not Crack
These regional/Bellator heavyweights have been no match for the wrestling and clinching, slow/patient tactics of Kongo as he enters this fight with Minakov on a 7 fight winning streak. 5 straight decision victories but now on a twonfoght 1st round TKO streak
Both Minakov and Kongo have victories over ranked UFC heavyweight Alexander Volkov during their time in Bellator some years back. 1st round TKO for Minakov and a 30-27 decision for Kongo
Minakov should be able to slot himself right away in the UFC top 10 while Kongo looks like he can beat anyone with suspect grappling, which is a lot of heavyweights including some in the UFC top 15
Minakov and Kongo have both beaten a lot of heavyweights that have fought in the UFC before
It would be difficult for me not to favour Minakov over #9 Tybura, #8 Oleinik or even #2 Black Beast
I don’t have much to say about FedoBader.
Would I be absolutely thrilled if Fedor pulled off another 1st round KO or better yet a classic armbar from guard with hips that could easily be confused with the hips of a Jessica Penne or Michelle Waterson tiny flexible female ? y3s
But I’m ready for a 5 round wrestlefucking with a couple 10-8s if not a ground and pound TKO of a 1 sided fight
the winner gets Minakov/Bader winner. just imagining Bader run through the entire Bellator heavyweight division is kinda amazing
Welterweight Grand Prix and Title 1) Rory MacDonald vs. Jon Fitch - quarter final of welterweight grand prix and Bellator welterweight title is on the line, winner fights Neiman Gracie in the semi final
this got booked for April 27
Fitch amazingly made 120k for wrestlefucking Paul Daley in his Bellator debut and now gets the first crack at Rory
Coker either has a lot of respect for Fitch’s long career, despite not being exciting unless he’s losing, or he has a really really good manager
I think putting Rory’s title on the line while in the Grand Prix is the right move plus it made all other Grand Prix fights 5 rounders as well (which already were used with 4th and 5th round finishes by Douglas Lima and Neiman Gracie). Over in boxing, there’s been a company called World Boxing Super Series that have been putting on tournaments of the best boxers. A big part of the appeal was having the winner unifying all the belts as opposed to only being a Grand Prix winner like Pride used to do and Strikeforce did for their heavyweight grand prix, which Daniel Cormier ended up winning
Neiman Gracie is 9-0, beating top prospect, collegiate wrestling champion crossover Ed Ruth in his quarter final match up, who was also undefeated
along with Kron Gracie, they are the first Gracies in quite some time that look they can have success against ranked fighters (with Kron already doing that subbing Tatsuya Kawajiri) and not being just BJJ guys (WAR RENZO GRACIE IN ONE. when we getting that Renzo/BJ 2 super fight. how long must I wait)
Rory’s nose should be relatively safe against Fitch and Neiman
2) MVP Michael Venom Page vs Paul Semtex Daley quarter final winner vs. Douglas Lima in the semis
Lima already beat Koreshkov
on paper an extremely interesting striking styles clash
MVP’s toughest test to date while Daley’s only ever lost on the feet to Douglas Lima and the war with Nick Diaz
and yeah the bad blood angle
This gon be some British Black on Black crime
could end up being a staring contest
Lima should be a fairly big favourite over whoever is victorious
Oh yeah Lorenz Larkin is an alternate in the Grand Prix
Regardless who wins there are many interesting outcomes: MVP proves he’s elite, the two top dogs Rory and Lima collide again in a rematch, Neiman Gracie brings a Gracie revival with Kron, Fitch wretlefucking his way past Rory (not exciting but still if you can do that to Rory I’d be impressed) Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Darrion Caldwell 2
no date announced but there was an agreement set in place that if Caldwell loses to Horiguchi in Rizin they would rematch in Bellator
Caldwell was on his way to winning, despite not having the cage to trap Kyoji more effectively during grappling/‘wall walk’ situations
Horiguchi is no stranger to the cage though boasting a 7-1 UFC record losing only to Demetrious Johnson
Caldwell won’t have to cut weight while travelling to Japan, jet lag, long plane ride etc benefit of the cage.
Kyoji while Japanese has been fighting out of ATT in Florida with Mike Brown as his corner for a long time now. I don’t know how early he goes to Japan for Rizin fights, but fighting in the USA will mean less flight time. He will be without the Japanese arena support though
Random possible future fights not really in any order just whatever I thought of first including long shots/‘hot take’ match ups:
Fedor vs Cro Cop BellatoRizin collab NYE 2019
Gegard Mousasi vs. Ryan Bader ‘super’ fight for LHW title
Lyoto vs Mousasi 2, this is bound to happen
Bader vs Machida 2, this also might happen. I think Lyoto is quite past it, but this and the Mousasi match up will still be two of the bigger fights Bellator can put on (see most of Bellator’s announced events of 2019)
Cyborg fights once more for UFC than moves to Bellator to fight Julia Budd for the Bellator Featherweight Title. Bellator has put on more women’s featherweight fights than UFC (okay, I didn’t actually count, but it has to be fairly close at the least. Julia Budd has 6 fights, Arlene Blencowe 7. Omg Am I ActUaLLy gOnna CoUNt thiS)
Fuck, okay. Cyborg has 4 featherweight fights in UFC. GDR and Holm fought once at featherweight. Megan Anderson has two. TUF Women’s Featherweight resulted in 1, but both girls are moving down to bantam so fuck me right?
Yeah, without outright going through each individual event page, I am confident in saying Bellator has put on more women’s featherweight fights than the UFC and has actually somewhat ran a women’s featherweight division.
Aaron Picogram looks to be quite past his MMA debut choking on food requiring the Heimlich (IDFK it was definitely more than a hiccup). He should be very close to fighting the best featherweights Bellator has to offer if he gets past 16-3 Henry Corrales this week on the same card as FedoBader. Picogram just beat 18-4 Leandro Higo.
I’m interested in seeing Picogram avenge his debut loss to Zach Freeman, but maybe that won’t ever happen. Freeman is a lightweight and Pico moved to featherweight after that fight. Freeman also didn’t even fight in 2018. So, they could still promote him as undefeated at featherweight
I think there’s a decent chance Vitor will join Bellator. There’s quite a few “legend” ish match ups for him. Vitor vs. Wanderlei, Rampage, Fedor.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Tito fights in 2019. Just not sure if it would be for Belaltor. He also has quite a few interesting-ish “legend” match ups that aren’t completely Royce/Shamrock/Chuck level shot
Mousasi vs Rafael Lovato Jr. if rebooked, looks to be a too much too soon for RLJ, but would be quite the story if he pulled off the upset.
Michael Chandler fighting at Rizin against somebody? As a Bellator co-promote fighter share of course. It’s pretty crazy how forgettable Benson Henderson in Bellator has been. Their first fight was very good, maybe they’ll get booked again. I don’t think Chandler vs. Patrício Pitbull will be competitive. Not a Rory/Mousasi beatdown, but still Chandler winning without much trouble
AJ McKee is 13-0 all under the Bellator banner should be very very soon he challenges for the featherweight title or #1 contender. Save division as Pico. All these prospects gonna graduate soon like with Strikeforce building up Rockhold, DC, Woodley to name a few
Dan Henderson said he didn’t plan to return, but he might consider it if offered a lot of money. Rampage and Wanderlei made 300k and 200k guaranteed for Bellator. Maybe that would be “a lot”. Again lots of legend fights nostalgia type match ups
One of the guest writers on TSN MMA Show gave a hot take that Randy Couture would return in 2019. What better place than in Bellator unless Tito learned from his time shadowing Oscar and starts Huntington Bad Boy MMA for the Tito Ortiz Revenge Tour. Randy, Machida, the fight that never happened with Rampage, Frank Shamrock can all get it. I can picture it now, “ a rivalry 20 years in the making... ORTIZ VS NOTKEN SHAMROCK 2 “
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE:1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998
WWF's Unforgiven PPV is in the books and it was pretty bad. Not much else of note. Mostly sluggish, bad matches. Everyone, from the wrestlers to the announcers to the production all seemed exhausted, which Dave attributes to adding Smackdown and all the increased workload that comes from that and says everyone is just tired. Triple H won his 2nd world title but still isn't really getting over as a top heel despite how hard they've been pushing him. Al Snow vs. Big Boss Man in the Kennel in a Cell match was one of the worst PPV matches of all-time. The dogs between the two cages didn't act vicious and instead spent the match barking at each other and pissing on the mats. They didn't pay any attention to either wrestler, which was the whole point of the match. Even Jim Ross on commentary was openly making fun of how bad it was. Jericho vs. X-Pac didn't click at all and Dave is baffled that Jericho didn't win or even look strong in his debut PPV match. And the 6-man main event was fun, but nothing special.
Dave recaps the latest UFC PPV, featuring Tito Ortiz vs. Frank Shamrock in possibly the greatest fight in UFC history. After winning the fight, Shamrock announced he was vacating the light heavyweight title and leaving UFC which was pretty well known beforehand anyway. He's expected to sign a deal with a Japanese promotion soon. Dave goes into a ton more detail about the show and all the issues facing UFC right now. This is kind of a slow issue, so fuck it, here enjoy some MMA.
Speaking of Shamrocks, Ken Shamrock suffered a neck injury that caused him to miss the Unforgiven PPV and may put his plans of returning to UFC in jeopardy. It was diagnosed as a slipped disc putting pressure on his spine. Worst case scenario, he might need surgery which would end any chances of returning to UFC, at least any time soon if not forever. The injury came from a stiff kick from Curtis Hughes (who is basically Chris Jericho's bodyguard lately). After it happened, Shamrock threw a fit backstage, refusing to wrestle until he could get an MRI done, even though WWF officials wanted him to work through it (this is the end of the road for Shamrock. He never wrestled in WWF again. In fact, he didn't wrestle again at all for more than a year after this and only did a dozen or so matches ever again so this is the end of his full-time wrestling career. But he did compete in UFC again eventually).
The finals of NJPW's annual tag team tournament only drew a crowd of 7,000 or so people to Budokan Hall. It was the smallest crowd NJPW has drawn in that building in at least 20 years. It's basically evidence of how much the company is suffering due to a recent trend of bad matches and bad booking.
WWF's Raw beat WCW Nitro by its biggest head-to-head margin ever, lead by a 20-minute long segment with The Rock and Mankind called "This Is Your Life" which did a mind-boggling 8.39 rating. At the same time on Nitro, a Saturn vs. Konnan match did a 1.58, meaning Raw beat Nitro in that segment by nearly 7 full points. In fact, even the Monday Night Football game took a pretty significant hit, down more than 2 full points lower than average. In more good news for WWF, Smackdown ratings increased, doing about double the Thunder rating. In fact, both Superstars and Sunday Night Heat also did higher ratings than Thunder and Live Wire came really close to beating it as well.
Okay, let's clear up the confusion once and for all about the "This Is Your Life" segment and WWE's constant claim that it's the highest rated segment in Raw history. There's a lot of asterisks there. For starters, it's not. The highest rated segment in Raw history is actually an Austin vs. Undertaker match which did a 9.5 rating. But that match happened during the overrun at the end of the show and Nitro went off the air a few minutes before Raw did. So a lot of people switched over to catch the end of Raw and boosted that rating. But bottom line, if you remove all the qualifiers, Austin vs. Undertaker is the highest rated segment in Raw history, period. Then there's the May 10, 1999 episode of Raw. Several quarter-hour segments of that episode did higher ratings than "This Is Your Life" but again, Nitro wasn't on the air that night due to the NBA Playoffs so Raw was unopposed. "This Is Your Life" is the highest rated segment in Raw history when facing head-to-head competition from Nitro during non-overrun hours. Still impressive for sure, but there's a few caveats there.
New Japan is doing a rematch between Shinya Hashimoto and NWA champion Naoya Ogawa next month, stemming from the now-infamous shoot incident that happened earlier this year at the Jan. 4 show. It's unknown if it will be an NWA title match though. The problem is the NJPW relationship with WCW would prevent them from doing an NWA title match on their show for political reasons. But on the same hand, with Eric Bischoff gone from WCW, nobody really knows the status of their NJPW relationship anymore.
The E! channel aired a show called Inside Pro Wrestling which was basically useless and offered nothing new. All the usual backyard wrestling clips, is this okay for children, interviews with all the usual WWF and WCW people on both sides giving the same canned responses. It detailed the WWF's version of the "history" of wrestling, which was the usual bullshit story about how 20 years ago, a young Vince McMahon single-handedly invented the idea of doing "stories" in wrestling and how Ted Turner bought WCW to try to destroy Vince because he has a grudge against him and all that nonsense.
WWF was granted a temporary restraining order against Playboy magazine preventing them from publishing an Ultimate Sable issue, which has the tagline "The woman you loved as Sable in the raw" on the cover WWF successfully argued that "Sable" and "Raw" are WWF trademarks and that the cover image of Rena Mero showed her dressed as her Sable character. The injunction ruled that Playboy can't even show Sable in black clothing with the sunglasses and black gloves and all that other stuff. Additionally, any further printings of the previous Playboy issue can't refer to her as Sable so the cover text will have to be changed. The new magazine will still be coming out, but Playboy has to change the cover and re-print it, which may delay it. She will appear on the new cover in white lingerie. Other lawsuits regarding the previous Playboy issue are still pending, but there are countless instances where Playboy referred to her as Sable in the magazine and in promotional advertising when they legally weren't supposed to, and WWF is hitting them on every instance of it (man, it's kind of a miracle that WWF and Playboy continued to work together after this. WWF ended up filing, like, 3 different lawsuits against them over this Sable shit).
Dave will be hosting a daily 2-hour pro wrestling call-in show called "Wrestling Observer Live" on the internet on the new Eyada.com website. Eyada is a live sports and entertainment site dedicated to hosting live phone-in shows, "similar to the radio, but through the internet" and allows listeners from worldwide to tune in. 6-8PM EST on Mon-Fri. Dave will be talking about wrestling, MMA, and all the latest news every day. Dave admits that there's some problems with this though. A lot of homes only have 1 phone line, and if you're listening to the show on the internet, your phone line will be tied up because this is 1999 and that's how the damn internet used to work. Dave says this is basically an experiment and it will live or die based on whether there's enough interest and people call in, and he's also worried that 2 hours of daily pro wrestling talk might be too much. But he's gonna give it a shot. Call in number is 1-877-EYADA-00 if you have a time machine and/or anything you'd like to ask Dave.
Shawn Michaels will travel to Japan in November to be a referee for a match in FMW. In the meantime, he's still making $750,000 a year on a guaranteed contract to do nothing and WWF is trying to get out of the deal because they have no interest in using him. Speaking of Michaels, he got some heat within WWF recently after giving an interview on WWF.com where he complained about Austin not doing a clean job to Triple H at Summerslam (if you recall, the match was changed to a 3-way with Foley added, and Foley ended up winning). Shawn said Austin should have put over Triple H and basically implied that Austin screwed over Triple H and refused to put him over. Dave seems to think that's pretty rich coming from Shawn Michaels, but whatever. Anyway, WWF officials weren't happy about him saying that.
Harley Race is in need of both neck and back surgery due to all the injuries from his 3+ decade career. Race recently said in an interview that he is a fan of Chris Benoit but wished he could talk him out of doing the diving headbutt because 15 years from now, his neck will be destroyed (sooner than that. And Benoit doesn't make it 15 years).
Jesse Ventura is talking about suing the Moonlight Bunny Ranch brothel in Nevada after they announced they were naming one of their rooms after him and that he used to frequent the place back when he was a Navy SEAL. Speaking of politicians, the Republican party in Pennsylvania has expressed interest in having Bruno Sammartino run for office in Pittsburgh, citing Ventura's success. Dave thinks this shit is getting out of control.
Power Pro Wrestling house show business has been really bad. In fact, the only reason the promotion even survives is because WWF pays for many of the top stars (they're mostly all signed to developmental deals) and the TV station in Memphis pays them $1,500 weekly for the TV show.
Mike Awesome's first matches as ECW champion have been at house shows against Rhino. Dave says Awesome's weaknesses in the ring are pretty apparent when he's facing anyone other than Masato Tanaka. Those 2 have insane chemistry together for some reason, but against anyone else, Awesome isn't nearly as impressive. But Paul Heyman has something special with Rhino and Dave predicts he'll be a star sooner than later.
Chris Candido and Tammy Sytch returned to ECW at the latest TNN tapings and it was a mixed bag. Candido was said to be fine, but Tammy looks rough these days and has none of the presence that made her such a big star in WWF (we're a week or two away from a really interesting interview with Tammy on ECW TV).
WCW officials met with Hulk Hogan this week and he was told that from this point forward, Goldberg will be promoted as the top star of the company and basically, he can just suck it up and deal with it. That being said, Nitro this week was still mostly built around Hogan, so who knows anymore.
There were a lot of internet rumors going around about several people being released from WCW. Dave can only confirm a few Power Plant trainees, Sick Boy, James Vandenberg, and Public Enemy. At Nitro, other people who were mentioned in the internet rumors were going around asking people if it was true and if they still had jobs, but nobody seemed to know for sure. Erik Watts and Silver King were 2 of the names that seemingly still have jobs and were backstage at Nitro, but nobody could confirm or deny the rumors, even to them. As for Randy Savage, who was also rumored to be gone, he's still under contract for a few more months but they have no plans to use him and they'll probably let his contract expire. WWF officials have strongly hinted (Jim Ross) and outright said (Vince Russo) that they have no interest in bringing him back to WWF.
Notes from Nitro: they teased the debut of a new character that will likely be Dustin Runnels and appears to be some weird new character that seems like a cross between Goldust and Undertaker. Sid Vicious was supposed to wrestle Van Hammer, but Sid told WCW officials he couldn't wrestle because he was suffering from bad allergies, which just thrilled everyone else in the locker room. Anyway, several of the matches on the show were pretty good and Dave doesn't really trash the show too hard this week.
Ultimo Dragon's recovery from a botched elbow surgery isn't going well and it's looking less and less likely that he'll ever be able to return to the ring. Dragon is scheduled to meet with WCW about it later this week.
ICP is gone from WCW, at least for now, but ICP always seems to bounce back somewhere. It is apparently an issue with their contract, with WCW trying to change it from 75 dates per year up to 150 per year. With their music touring schedule, ICP couldn't commit to that many dates so they're gone. Dave thinks WCW might have intentionally pushed them out as punishment for trying to jump ship to ECW a couple weeks back. Also, there has been some controversy over a deal ICP made with WCW to promote their music (an ICP video aired on Nitro last week). They also made a deal to pass out sampler CDs at WCW shows, but that went awry on the very first night they did it, because the WCW offices got a ton of complaints from parents who were upset that these sample CDs that were handed to their kids were full of ICP's vulgar rap music. Dave is actually surprised WCW made a deal with ICP at all, given how explicit their music is and how the Turner execs are usually pretty squeamish about that sort of thing but nobody in the office is paying attention to what anyone else is doing so this kind of stuff tends to fall through the cracks.
For what it's worth, Nitro still beats Raw in the U.K. when it comes to head-to-head viewership. Seems those U.K. folks still prefer WCW to WWF but they also spell words like "flavor" with a U, so really, what the fuck do they know?
The condition of Gorilla Monsoon worsened this week due to complications from diabetes causing liver and kidney issues. Monsoon had a heart attack several weeks ago and has been hospitalized since (his obituary is on Friday).
Notes from Raw: Dave has the most unintentionally hilarious line ever here: "HHH & Chyna did an interview. Bulldog came out and claimed they made a deal that if either of them won the match, they'd give the other the title shot the next day on Raw. HHH told Bulldog that he lied. I think HHH aspires to run a wrestling company some day." (Yeah, I suspect he just might). Dave thought the "This Is Your Life" segment was okay but dragged on too long and didn't seem to love it, but the monster rating pretty much guarantees that we're going to get more comedy like that.
On Smackdown, they did an angle with Undertaker and Paul Bearer quitting the company. This was done mostly to give Undertaker time off to heal some injuries and for Bearer to lose weight.
The Memphis mayoral election is next week and Jerry Lawler has been slowly closing the gap in the polls but it's still not looking good. Speaking of Lawler, he was indicted this week on charges from an incident earlier this year where he threw a parking ticket at an airport security lady, cursed her out, and drove away, running over her foot in the process. Lawler said the timing of the indictment, right before the election, is suspicious and denies ever running over her foot. The charge is felony reckless endangerment. If convicted, it would be interesting if he also somehow wins the election, because a convicted felon isn't allowed to run for public office in Tennessee and he could theoretically be forced out of office. Other candidates have been calling for Lawler to drop out of the race since he's now under indictment.
The WWF's expected IPO date is 10/11 with a proposed initial offering of 10 million shares priced at between $14 and $16. It is expected that the price will be significantly higher by the time it's available to the public. Dave explains some other shit about the price going up and people within the company hoping to buy stock before it goes public and all that shit. But I don't speak stock very well.
Taz officially signed a WWF contract last week but will finish up with ECW this year first. Dave also says former ECW valet Kimona has signed with WWF as well, but I'm pretty sure he's mistaken there. She shows up in WCW soon (yeah he corrects this later).
Big Show was interviewed in a newspaper recently and said he weighs 470 pounds after getting liposuction earlier this year and says WWF told him to get it done because they wanted him to lose weight. He said he was 537 when he first signed with the company.
Some guy writes in and says WCW doesn't need to copy WWF and they should find their own way. He doesn't like WWF and says "Sports Entertainment" will die a horrible death some day and it will take the industry a long time to recover from it. Still waiting, pal.
WEDNESDAY:WWF head writers Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara quit WWF and sign with WCW, WWF files lawsuit against Martha Hart, Bret Hart faces Chris Benoit in Owen tribute match on Nitro, and more...
2018.07.06 03:49 Redditsresidentloser[Long Boring Stats Post #7] UFC goes Abroad!
Ayyy it's been a while since I've done one of these. And that's because this one took so long to research. After seeing a few cards recently where the UFC has gone to another country, and noticing how they seem to use them to give a fight to a local fighter, saving bigger names for PPV's in the US etc, I began to wonder if local fighters did better when fighting at home. Obviously I can't go and check up on every individual fighters records at home compared to abroad, so I thought I'd check on individual UFC events outside of the US, and see how the home-based fighters did compared to the non-locals. I shouldn't need to say, this isn't exact, and ultimately proves nothing, but maybe there's some interesting patterns we can pick up nonetheless. I created a spreadsheet, a new row for each UFC event outside of the US, from UFC Japan: Ultimate Japan, all the way down to UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs Till at the end of May. I tracked the cities visited, how many times the UFC has been there, how many local fighters fought at the event, what percentage of the card was local, how many of them won, and to make it easier to digest, what percentage of locals won. Next I created a new spreadsheet, and compiled all the events together by their city. Tracked how many times the UFC went to that city, how many local fighters that city hosted, so on and so on. And finally a 3rd spreadsheet, tracking the events by country. How many times the UFC had visited that country, how many local fighters they hosted, how many fighters overall and the local percentage, how many winners, and the percentage of that etc. Small note before we begin on how I judged 'local talent'. Cain Velasquez is American. If he fights in Mexico, it has something to do with his heritage. Therefore he counts towards the local talent. If there is an event in Sweden, Jimi Manuwa counts towards the local talent because he trains in Stockholm. If there is an event in Auckland, New Zealand, Jake Matthews counts towards local talent, despite being Australian, he's on the card because it's nearby. Countries I think this is easier to begin with, then we'll look into it further. So it shouldn't be a surprise, given the history of the country and the UFC, but Brazil tops the list. Having hosted 31 events over the years. Next is Canada at 25, and the United Kingdom at 23. Bottom of the list having hosted once, is Chile, Croatia, the Philippines, and South Korea. There are 2 countries who hold the highest percentage of local talent hosted. At 62%, Sweden and Chile top the pile, followed closely by Poland on 61%, and Mexico on 60%. Sweden has held 5 events, all in Stockholm. With a local fighter percentage as high as 77 for UFC FN: Nelson vs Story, and never dropping below 50% which it achieved twice with UFC on Fuels: Gustafsson vs Silva, & Mousasi vs Latifi. Chile of course has only hosted one event, recently UFC FN: Maia vs Usman. Poland has hosted 2 to reach it's 61%. Gdansk's Cowboy vs Till scored 45% local talent, while Krakow's Gonzaga vs Cro Cop 2 scored 75% local. Mexico scored it's 60% from 5 visits, with scores between 72%, and 36%. At the bottom of the list, and miles from anyone else, is the United Arab Emirates. Hosting 2 events, the UAE has only ever welcomed 4 local fighters. Out of 36 total places on the cards, that's just 11%. The next lowest percentage is 30%. Held by both Canada and Australia. Canada has held 25 UFC events, and Australia 11. When you have GSP headlining, maybe you don't need to put as much effort into it I guess. Country Winners So now the countries that have the most of their fighters winning. Here's where we see if there is a home-field advantage, and if so, where's best to go for it. Top of the list, and 15% higher than 2nd place, is the Netherlands. Rotterdam has held 2 UFC events, hosting 26 local fighters out of 50. And of those 26, 20 of them won their fights. Which is huge. 77% success rate for a local fighter in the Netherlands. Next with 3 events held is China. Events in Macau (2) and Shanghai (1) have hosted 26 out of 50 local fighters like Rotterdam, but only 16 managed to win. Still a very impressive 62% success rate for the locals. At the bottom of this list, like the one above is the UAE. Having hosted 2 events featuring just 4 local fighters, only 1 of them won their fights. Just a 25% win percentage. The bottom few countries hosted only 1 or 2 events, perhaps this has put a negative spin on their stats. Croatia hosted once, 14 locals out of 26, 5 winners, 36%. Philippines hosted once, 11 locals out of 24, 4 winners, also 36%. New Zealand hosted twice, 16 locals from 42 with 7 winners, 44%. And South Korea, hosted once, 11 locals from 22, just 5 winners, 45%. You have to go up to Japan, who've hosted 9 times to see some sort of decent sample size. The land of the rising sun has hosted a UFC event 9 times. Across Tokyo, Yokohama, and Saitama, they've counted up 56 locals from 136 total. 26 of the 56 won, giving them 46%. Slightly less than half of their fighters won fighting at home. Cities hosting their own This was good to see, of the top results you have to go down to the 10th highest before finding a repeat country. A nice mix. The city with the highest percentage of locals, is Brazils Belo Horizonte. Hosting two events, out of 44 spots on the fight cards, 34 went to local fighters. 77%. Brazil on Brazil violence. Close by was Krakow. Having hosted just once, with 24 spots on the card, 18 went to local fighters. 75%. Perhaps skewed by only hosting once or twice, we go down to Stockholm, Sweden in 6th place. Having hosted 5 times maybe there's a bit more data. Out of 5 events with 120 spots on the card, 74 went to local fighters. 62% as mentioned above. At the bottom of the list as expected is the Abu Dhabi. Of course being the only city to host in the UAE their stats are the same for city and country. Just 11% of the cards were locals. Next above them is Vancouver in Canada. Hosting 4 events, out of 86 spots on the card, only 12 went to local fighters. The lowest total on this list with just 2 local fighters, having only hosted one event, and perhaps tellingly the first ever UFC event abroad, Yokohama Japan, hosting UFC Japan: Ultimate Japan. Of the 12 fighters on the event, just 2 were Japanese. Of course this is skewed by having hosted just once. The highest percentage for just a single host is of course Krakow as mentioned earlier with 75%. Cities giving their guys the advantage Now onto the cities with the highest percentage of winners. Do Canadians just naturally perform better in Winnipeg? Well I guess so? Out of the 11 locals fighting across the 2 events there, 9 of them won. 82% success rate is huge. If you go down the list until you find a city with more than 1 or 2 hosts, you stop next at another Canadian location. Out of 4 events in Vancouver, despite only having 12% of their fighters local, 67% of them won. Huge. Of course again, at the bottom of this list is the UAE. 25%. You know it by now. Next above them though, and with a percentage 20 points lower than the next Brazilian location, is Porto Alegre. Hosting UFC FN: Bigfoot vs Mir with 10 locals on the card, only 3 won for a dismal 30% success rate. If you want to go higher for a location with a larger sample size, Toronto has hosted 5 UFC events. With a pretty poor record all round. 5 events 122 fighters 35 locals 29% 15 winners 43%. The win percentage probably the best number for the city. Out of all of the cities I looked at, over half of them have a positive ratio. 60 cities total, 38 with 51% or more of their locals winning. Only 16 with a negative ratio. Some more city stuff (I get a little sidetracked here, but it's still long boring stats) Ok starting with the cities who have hosted the UFC the most and least, top of the list with 10 is London, UK. Hosting such classics as Welterweight champion Matt Hughes defending against former Welterweight champion Carlos Newton, and the iconic Jimi 'I like Corey Anderson, but you just beat Corey Anderson' Manuwa vs Corey Anderson. Rio de Janeiro has hosted 8 events, and incredibly 7 of them were PPVs. 142: Aldo vs Mendes 153: Silva vs Bonnar 163: Aldo vs Korean Zombie 179: Aldo vs Mendes 2 190: Rousey vs Correia 212: Aldo vs Holloway & 224: Nunes vs Pennington. That's quite a run, but as a percentage it is beaten. Montreal Canada has 7 out of 7 events hosted as PPVs. 83: Serra vs St-Pierre 2 97: Redemption (Silva vs Leites) 113: Machida vs Shogun 2 124: St-Pierre vs Koshcheck 2 154: St-Pierre vs Condit 158: St-Pierre vs Diaz 186: Johnson vs Horiguchi. Toronto also has a 100% PPV record, with 5/5. 129: St-Pierre vs Shields 140: Jones vs Machida 152: Jones vs Belfort 165: Jones vs Gustafsson 206: Holloway vs Pettis Weird string of 3 GSP's in a row for Montreal, and 3 Jones' in a row for Toronto there. Of course there are more cities with 100% records, but they have only held 1 or 2 events. Not worth listing them all here. Anyway back to the right topic. Event specifics The event with the highest number of local fighters, quite neatly is also the event with the highest percentage of local fighters. UFC 147: Silva vs Franklin 2, held in Belo Horizonte Brazil. With 22 spots on the card, 20 of them went to local fighters, 90%. Just incredible. Obviously with more than half of the fighters being local, the local win percentage couldn't be higher than 50%, and it was just that. 10 out of 20 locals won their fights, 50% success rate. Nice and tidy. This event would have been 95% locals, but just under a month out from the date, Vitor Belfort injured his hand and had to pull out, being replaced by foreigner Rich Franklin, who beat Wanderlei Silva in the main event. The other foreigner on the card was Mike Russow, who lost in the 1st round to Fabricio Werdum. The next highest event for a percentage of locals was UFC FN: Nelson vs Story. 77% of the card being from the area. Next under that with 75% was also mentioned earlier, Krakow in Poland hosting 75% locals on their only event, Gonzaga vs Cro Cop 2. At the bottom of the list, where it may be equalled but never beaten, is UFC 72: Victory! Held in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Headlined by Rich Franklin vs Yushin Okami. Out of the 8 fights, 16 fighters on the card, the sole Brit was Jason Tan. He was on the opening fight of the card, and he got KO'd in 1 minute and 15 seconds. A miserable event all around if you're local. Vancouver has hosted events featuring just 1 local fighter twice. UFC 115: Liddell vs Franklin (him again), and UFC 131: dos Santos vs Carwin. At 115, Claude Patrick won his fight by Guillotine choke in the 2nd round. And at 131, Sam Stout defeated Yves Edwards by KO in the first. Not a bad showing if you're the only ones flying the flag. The event with the most local winners, with a high percentage of 76, is UFC FN: Silva vs Bisping. Despite Mikes best efforts to get KO'd via distraction, Bisping made it 13 local winners that night. There are events with a 100% local winning percentage, but they all had 1 or 2 local fighters so perhaps not much of an achievement. At Londons UFC 38: Brawl at the Hall, Ian Freeman defeated Frank Mir, while Mark Weir defeated Eugene Jackson. At Londons UFC 83: Bedlam, Sexy Wizard Bisping beat Jason Day, and Paul Taylor decisioned Jess Liaudin. Vancouvers 131 and 115 already noted above, their lone local fighters giving them a 100% win rate. For events with a larger sample size of locals fighting, we move to Winnipegs UFC 161: Evans vs Henderson. With 7 Canadians on the card, 6 of them won. Only Sam Stout let the side down this time. 85% win rate. UFC on Fuel: Gustafsson vs Silva & FN: Overeem vs Arlovski both scored 83% wins for their locals. 10 locals winning out of 12 fighting both times. There's a few at the bottom of this list. 0 local winners. Already mentioned, UFC 72 in Belfast who didn't have any locals, and UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi having 1 local losing. UFC 29 also has 0 local winners though, from 4 being on the card. In the main event, Tito Ortiz defended his Light Heavyweight title against Yuki Kondo, while the co-main saw Welterweight champion Pat Miletich defending against Kenichi Yamamoto. Both successes for the foreigners, along with Matt Lindland and Fabiano Iha, defeating locals Yoji Ano and Daiju Takase respectively. I think that about wraps this one up. While there is definitely more chance of winning when fighting near home, the most common percentage of your locals winning was 50%. So that feels like a nice ending. Thanks so much if you made it this far, and if you have any ideas for more boring stats you want me to waste half a week looking up, let me know. Tables here, here and here.
2018.05.11 18:02 daprice82Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Mar. 15, 1999
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE:1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998
Dave has officially declared the Monday night wars over. Obviously, both shows are still going on. But WWF is riding an incredible wave of success while WCW is free-falling in self-destruction and he doesn't see that changing anytime soon. Sunday Night Heat did a record 5.09 rating, followed the next night by Raw doing a monstrous 6.46. At one point, Raw was more than doubling Nitro's ratings during certain segments of the show. Add in all the mainstream publicity (Sable in Playboy, TV Guide doing another 4-part covers series but only WWF this time, etc.) and just weeks away from Wrestlemania which will undoubtedly be the biggest money event in WWF history and the biggest non-boxing event in the history of pay-per-view, and WWF is simply on fire right now.
On the flip side, there's WCW. For the last several weeks, Eric Bischoff has apparently been on vacation in France (Dave gets an AWESOME line here, saying it would be more appropriate if he was in Rome playing the fiddle). That left Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan in charge of Nitro this week and Dave says it was possibly the worst TV show put on by a major promotion in history and that Nash and Hogan used the show as a way to get themselves over and went to absurd lengths to basically bury everyone else in the company. When asked about it, Bischoff has basically said he's giving full control to Nash and giving him the chance to sink or swim on his own. Most people feel that Bischoff has pretty much given up and mentally checked out of the company and is looking for a way to get off the Titanic before it sinks. Dave thinks Nitro had to have been designed to fail this week because it takes a lot of thought to actually present a show that terrible, it couldn't have been an accident. He talks about how WCW has had a long tradition of bad booking, dating back to the mid-80s Crockett days where everyone did heel/face turns until the fans didn't care about anyone, screwjob finishes, and the booker pushing himself as the top star (Dusty) and obviously, nothing has changed in the last 10 years. Locker room morale is at rock bottom. Scott Hall is pretty much planning to sit out right now and has talked about suing WCW because it was a WCW employee who ran over his ankle a few weeks ago, injuring him. Benoit, Malenko, guys like them have been forgotten. Bret Hart's burial is complete and he's a midcard nobody now (he worked a 10+ minute match against Van Hammer this week, in case you're wondering). Arn Anderson, one of the top 3 promo guys in the biz, is being phased out. Billy Kidman, arguably the brightest new star in WCW in the last year or so, is barely on TV anymore. Same with Juventud Guerrera, who is the single best wrestler in the U.S. at the moment. Chris Jericho has potential to be the next Shawn Michaels or Ric Flair and he's booked like a nobody and is almost certainly WWF-bound when his contract ends. But we still have nonstop Scott Steiner, Buff Bagwell, Nash, and Hogan. Goldberg is still being booked strong because even WCW isn't foolish enough to totally bury him, but he's not going to be pushed above Hogan (who is turning face) and Dave wouldn't be surprised if they do something stupid like turn Goldberg heel (still a year away from that awful idea). With Ric Flair now being booked as the top heel (at 50 years old) and Hogan as the top babyface, it does nothing to dispel the notion that WCW is the elderly, out of touch company, while WWF is the hot, cool product. People who recently re-signed contracts are wishing they could get out of them and Dave expects nearly anyone who has a chance to go to WWF when their contracts expire will probably make the jump. But aside from all the comparisons of 1999 WCW to 1988 Crockett, Dave says there's one big difference. In 1988, even though morale was bad and the product was suffering, the performers didn't quit. They still tried to put on good shows. But now, in 1999, everyone from the wrestlers, to the announcers, to the front office...all of them have already mentally quit. Almost everyone is just collecting a check and phoning it in at this point and it's never been more obvious. And for that reason, Dave says the game is already over. WWF has won the war.
Vader became the first wrestler in history to win both New Japan's IWGP title and AJPW's Triple Crown title after defeating Akira Taue to win the title recently vacated by Toshiaki Kawada after an injury. Dave says this puts Vader up there alongside Lou Thesz as one of the only wrestlers to hold more versions of major league championships than any other wrestler ever. Vader held the CWA title in Europe in the 80s, which was a bigger deal then than it is now. The UWA title in Mexico (back when they were the top promotion there). IWGP in Japan, 3 times, and the WCW title 3 times, among others. At one point in 1990, he was the CWA, UWA, and IWGP champ all at the same time, which probably makes him the only wrestler to ever hold 3 major world titles on 3 different continents at once.
At the latest UFC PPV, Tito Ortiz got into a confrontation with Ken Shamrock, who was cageside for the fight. After Ortiz won his fight against Shamrock's protege Guy Mezger, he flipped off the Lion's Den corner and then pulled out a t-shirt that said "GAY Mezger is my bitch." Upon seeing the shirt, Shamrock jumped up and climbed the cage and started yelling at Ortiz, saying that if he put the shirt on, he would rip his head off and chastising him for poor sportsmanship. Due to UFC being afraid of any negative publicity these days, the camera pulled away from most of it, but Ortiz had to be pulled away and Shamrock nearly climbed into the cage and had to be restrained. For what it's worth, Shamrock has talked about wanting to fight again, but of course, he's still under WWF contract. He's had discussions with Vince McMahon about allowing him to fight, perhaps sometime this year but no word if it's led anywhere. And Shamrock reportedly wants to fight for the UFC title, and doesn't necessarily have any interest in fighting Ortiz, although now there's obviously some intrigue if that fight were to ever happen. But right now, UFC doesn't have enough visibility on PPV to even be able to afford to bring in Shamrock. But there's talk that UFC is making headway with the PPV providers and they seem confident that they may be able to start getting unbanned soon.
The career of Lizmark, one of Mexican wrestling's all-time legends, may have come to a sudden end due to heart problems. He'd been dealing with chest pains recently and finally checked himself into a hospital only to find out it was bad news. Doctors then told him he absolutely could never wrestle again because he would be risking his life. Dave gives a brief recap of his career, talking about him as one of the innovators of out-of-the-ring dives that have become so popular in Lucha Libre ("tope suicida!") and how his son Lizmark Jr. currently wrestles in WCW. He's 49 and had already been talking of retiring anyway but was holding out hope that he would get to wrestle his final match with his son but the WCW/CMLL deal fell through and they're in different promotions so it looks like it won't happen. In fact, Dave says Lizmark's mask is one of the most famous in Mexican wrestling history and that legacy is the reason Lizmark Jr. has repeatedly refused to lose his mask in WCW, which is why they never push him. (Turns out this wasn't the end for Lizmark. He took about 6 months off and then resumed wrestling a slightly lighter schedule but still pretty regularly for the next several years. And in even better news, he did get to wrestle with his son a bunch of times during those years. He ended up retiring in 2013 and died in 2015).
There's a quiet power struggle taking place within AJPW between Mitsuharu Misawa and Motoko Baba, the widowed wife of Giant Baba. Apparently Motoko Baba wants to oversee everything Misawa does while he wants to be left alone to run the company as he sees fit. He also wants to modernize things a bit. If you're recall, Giant Baba wasn't exactly the most in-touch guy when it came to the modern day wrestling business. (This behind-the-scenes power struggle goes on for the next year or so and eventually, Misawa leaves and takes almost the entire AJPW roster and office staff with him to form Pro Wrestling Noah which damn near puts AJPW out of business overnight. But we'll get there...)
For the first time in AJPW history, Stan Hansen won't be part of the upcoming Champion Carnival tournament. Dave explains how in sumo wrestling, when a grand champion can no longer compete at the highest level, they are usually forced into retirement in order to spare them the indignity of losing to low level fighters. AJPW is basically doing the same thing here. Stan Hansen is without a doubt the biggest foreign star in the history of Japanese wrestling but he's 50 years old now and he simply can't hang with the newer generation of stars. And since it wouldn't make sense to push him as a top star anymore, they don't want him in the tournament losing to midcard guys and looking bad. So to preserve his legendary status, they are simply not putting him in the tournament at all.
Shinya Hashimoto was expected to return to the ring for next month's big NJPW Tokyo Dome show but he won't be ready. He had major reconstructive surgery on his nose after getting it shattered to pieces in the Jan. 4 match against Naoya Ogawa and won't be medically cleared in time for the show.
Riki Choshu has announced that he plans to come out of retirement. It's got a lot of people concerned about the financial condition of NJPW because, when he retired last year, Choshu vowed he would never come back unless the company was in such bad shape that they needed him to. Soooo...now he's coming back, so obviously people are questioning things. NJPW is denying that there are any money issues and in fact, most of the wrestlers who recently re-signed were given big raises. But house show business in the last year or so has declined so who really knows. No word on who or when Choshu will wrestle again (must have been some confusion here because Choshu stayed retired for another year-plus before finally coming out of retirement in mid-2000).
Kenzo Suzuki, a former collegiate rugby star, has started training at the NJPW dojo and will likely debut for the company later this year (he doesn't last long in NJPW. Spends a couple of years in WWE during the mid-00s, and then ends up back in AJPW for most of the last decade).
Nobuhiko Takada is still not giving up the dream of being a real MMA fighter and will face UFC fighter Mark Coleman at the next PRIDE show (this ends up being one of the more notorious "fixed" fights in MMA history, with Coleman clearly taking a dive for Takada).
Speaking of Mark Coleman, WCW offered him $50,000 to come in and work a match against Goldberg and to put him over. But Coleman's people advised him against it and then Kevin Nash also shot down the idea, saying what if Vince McMahon offered Coleman $100,000 to double-cross WCW and shoot on Goldberg live on PPV and embarrass the company? Dave says the obvious answer to that would be to tape the match in advance just in case. But either way, it's not happening now.
Legendary retired sumo wrestler Akebono has been denying rumors that he plans to get into pro wrestling now that his sumo career is over (took him a few years, but yeah he eventually becomes a pro wrestler).
Women's boxer Shannon Hall reportedly has an offer to sign with WWF. She's also a former American Gladiator (she does sign with WWF but never makes it out of developmental).
Dave finally saw the A&E Biography episode about Andre The Giant. He says it was a very well-produced fairy tale. Definitely entertaining, but about 80% inaccurate, at least about his wrestling career. There were some good interviews with his family members and friends about his childhood and personal life but as far as his wrestling career goes, most of it was revisionist bullshit.
Legendary women's wrestler Mae Young has been playing the role of Sean Stasiak's mother on Power Pro Wrestling in Memphis. She had a wrestling match with Stacy and, at 75 years old, that makes her the oldest person to have a match that Dave is aware of (Lou Thesz had one at 74 a few years back). She took a few bumps and then faked a heart attack before sneak attacking Stacy with a purse.
A 17-year-old kid named Andre Verdun made news in Ventura, CA for his backyard wrestling group where him and a bunch of other kids were having barbed wire matches and jumping off rooftops on each other through tables and whatnot. The principal at Verdun's school was furious at the newspaper that ran the story, saying all they did was give the kids more fame and notoriety by publishing it. Verdun was apparently signing autographs at school after it happened and now there's TV shows wanting to do interviews with them (I googled the guy and it looks like he did a bunch of garbage backyard death match shit for years. There's some videos on YouTube. He also played a big part in a 20/20 piece about backyard wrestling that also interviewed Mick Foley and others. Anyway, looks like this Verdun guy is all grown up and he's a lawyer now. I can't find the local news piece, but here's the 20/20 story from later in the year which features Foley).
ECW paychecks are finally starting to clear now that they got the big influx of cash, so morale is better but no one is betting on the future. Even Tommy Dreamer, thought to be the most loyal guy in the company, went on a radio show this week saying that he only has a handshake agreement with Paul Heyman, not a contract, and said that if a serious offer came along from either WWF or WCW, he would take it.
ECW also lost their TV deals in several major cities due to financial issues. Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh TV deals were all lost. They're working on getting Boston back. They voluntarily gave up the Chicago TV deal because they were paying $3,000 a week for TV there but they've never actually run a show there so they decided it wasn't worth the cost. Same for Atlanta, although they're looking for a new TV deal there. Pittsburgh dropped them due to bounced checks.
Tammy Sytch and Chris Candido still aren't being used by ECW. They have told Heyman that they are in counseling and doing an outpatient drug rehab program. Tammy's mother also went to court this week and got a restraining order against her daughter extended (she was arrested a few weeks ago for violating it).
ECW TV this week kept taking pathetic shots at WCW. Once might have been okay but it went on and on throughout the whole show and came off as whiny and desperate. They talked about WCW ripping off ECW's gimmick with the "Uncensored" PPV. Talked about the three-way match between Raven, Hardcore Hak, and Bigelow saying they are using ECW wrestlers for an ECW-style match. And they knocked the Hogan/Flair barbed wire cage match, saying that the match will suck because both guys are 50 year old millionaires who won't take risks and besides, the barbed wire is fake anyway and in ECW they use real barbed wire. Then they showed the famous Terry Funk/Sabu barbed wire match (not bothering to mention that Funk is older than both Flair and Hogan) and basically just spent the whole show knocking WCW.
As if this week's episode of Nitro wasn't bad enough, they also failed to sell out the show in a 12,000 seat arena. It's been a long time since Nitro failed to sell out an arena that size. A few days later, a Thunder taping only drew 4,000 fans to a 15,000-seat arena, which was disastrous (they'll be happy to draw 4,000 fans to any show a year from now). During Thunder, they aired 2 promo videos hyping next week's Nitro and both clips featured Sean Waltman, who has been gone from WCW for over a year now and is, of course, currently in WWF. The wheels are falling off this company.
Also on Thunder, the crowd was chanting "steroids!" at Scott Steiner and at one point, he legit lost his cool and ran into the crowd after a fan, which they had to edited out before broadcast.
In a magazine interview with Goldberg, he was asked his thoughts on WWF and said it was "shock TV" and said he would retire from wrestling tomorrow rather than ever go to work there. Sure thing, buddy.
WWF injury/illness Report: Mankind is dealing with knee issues and will need time off soon. Billy Gunn missed a few shows due to fluid in his lungs and a respiratory infection. Steven Regal is still in rehab with no plans to return soon.
Regarding rumors that Raw will be expanding to 3 hours, apparently it was discussed several months ago back when the ratings war with Nitro was still neck-and-neck. They didn't like that Nitro had a 1 hour head start and talked about adding a third hour to Raw. But now that Raw is dominating Nitro, they don't feel the need to do it anymore, so it won't be happening. Whew. Could you imagine?
Kurt Angle will be sent to Memphis to work for Power Pro Wrestling for a bit before they put him on WWF TV.
Luna Vachon was fired this week due to several separate incidents. She has had a lot of heat with Sable, Marc Mero, Jacqueline, and agent Jack Lanza. She also complained about not getting a push because she wasn't as pretty as Sable (which she also said on TV and it was more shoot than work) and she even challenged Marc Mero to a fight backstage at the St. Valentine's Day Massacre PPV. Basically, she's just been pissing off too many people and none of the other women were comfortable having her around because she's kinda wild, so they fired her. Funny enough, she was booked to face Sable at Wrestlemania and was even booked to win the title, but that's obviously off now and Sable will likely face Tori instead.
WWF is considering doing their own women's wrestling show patterned after the old GLOW promotion of the 80s. They're holding a casting call in Los Angeles next week to bring in more pretty women for it (this never got off the ground but they ended up signing a few of the casting call women to developmental deals).
CBS wants to do a Movie of the Week type deal with Steve Austin playing the same character he played on his recent Nash Bridges episode, since that did such a huge rating. And of course, if the movie does good, it would possibly lead to a full blown spin-off TV series. Austin's guest spot on the show opened a lot of eyes in Hollywood since it did such a big rating, more than even Hogan or Piper could have ever done on network TV.
Public Enemy has a good bit of heat in WWF already, with most people feeling like they don't belong and are out of their league. They had a match against the Acolytes on Sunday Night Heat where both guys (Bradshaw especially) were stiffing the hell out of them. It was reportedly meant to be a message to PE and was approved by the office (yeah this match is BRUTAL and pretty much ended PE's run in WWF).
Sable has been making the media rounds to promote her Playboy issue. She was on Howard Stern this week and will be filming a role for La Femme Nikita next month. She was also interviewed by the New York Daily News and had this to say in regards to WWF's product: "As a responsible parent, I choose not to let my child watch it (Raw). My child is very young. She has a bed time and she's in bed when our show comes on. To me, that's being a responsible parent. Ultimately, it's the parent's decision. If you do not wish your child to watch the WWF, change the channel. It's not our place to put on a show that's supposedly for your children. It's your place as a parent to monitor what your children watch. Are they saying it's not okay to see the characters we play beat up each other but it's okay to have your child watch a movie where a famous actor blows away 100 people with an M-16?" When asked if she felt her character is degrading to women, Sable responded, "I feel I'm being a strong, stand-up woman. People don't have to like what I do or agree with what I do because they don't have to live my life. I would much rather my daughter when she grows up, do what she wants to do because she wants to do it, not because of what someone else thinks." When asked about turning heel recently but still not getting booed, Sable pointed to her chest and said, "Why would they boo this?"
The idea with Jim Ross acting like a heel lately is because they want to transition him into being Steve Williams' manager and also because they're trying to transition Michael Cole into the new main announcer for Raw. However, Ross' promos had the opposite effect and got over huge and he got big cheers. So they've dropped the heel act but the plan is still for him to do the talking for Steve Williams and there's no plans for him to replace Michael Cole anytime soon.
Remember that hotel and casino that WWF bought in Las Vegas? Well, the plan is to tear it down and rebuild since the building isn't right for what they want (they want to be able to hold shows in it, but the structure isn't built for it). Anyway, whenever they do finally demolish it, there's been talk of turning it into a wrestling angle and having Austin press the button, with the storyline idea being that Austin just destroyed a multi-million dollar piece of property that Vince owns (didn't happen but that would have been awesome).
Someone writes in and chastises Dave for being so mean to WCW. The guy basically says, yeah WCW sucks right now but do you have to keep ridiculing them for it? Someone else writes in and shits all over Mick Foley, saying he's a glorified stuntman and doesn't belong in a wrestling ring and he hates this new era of jumping off cages and crashing through tables and all that stuff. He wishes someone with a lot of money would come along and promote wrestling the way it used to be in the good ol' days. He signs his name "Duane Mason" but I know a Jim Cornette letter when I see one!
MONDAY:WCW Uncensored fallout, a look at how many world titles Ric Flair has actually held, Shane Douglas and Flair take shots at each other in interviews, and more...
2018.01.15 00:11 Redditsresidentloser[Long Boring Stats Post #3] Who did what before, and who did what after winning the gold.
Another day another few hours spent looking at nothing. So join me! Today I looked at who has the longest unbeaten streaks on their way to the UFC title, and then who had the longest unbeaten streaks after. For the purposes of this thread I have included No contests and draws in the streaks, so rather than calling it a winning streak as I may do by accident later on, the streaks start and end with either a loss, or the beginning or ending of the fighters career. I'm going to look at a few things specifically, which fighters have the longest/shortest streaks before winning, which fighters have the longest/shortest after winning, longest streaks including title win, which divisions give out title shots off of the longest/shortest streaks, and if there's any weird repeating patterns mixed into all of that. Streaks Before So onto the fighters with the longest streak before winning a UFC title. Taking into account that these fights are career wins, not just inside of the UFC (perhaps that will be another [LBSP] later on), Renan Barao is far and away the king of this statistic. Renan fought 30 times before winning the gold. He lost his first ever pro fight, then went unbeaten for 29 including one no contest, before he won the interim Bantamweight title. He defended it twice, was promoted to Undisputed champion, and then lost to TJ Dillashaw. Next up is Bas Rutten, who went 20 fights unbeaten including one draw before he won the UFC Heavyweight title. He vacated the belt shortly after, had one fight at WFA: King of the Streets which he won, and then Bas retired. And in 3rd place is Cyborg. Like Barao she also lost her first professional fight, but unlike Barao hasn't lost since. Cyborg went 18 fights unbeaten including 1 No contest before she beat Tonya Evinger for the UFC Featherweight title last summer. She's defended once since, and that's her up to date. A few honourable mentions to fighters who managed to go undefeated their whole career before winning their first UFC title... 15 - Tim Sylvia 14 - Lyoto Machida 13 - Rashad Evans 10 - Cody Garbrandt 9 - Chris Weidman & Holly Holm 8 - Joanna Jedrzejczyk 6 - Ronda Rousey 5 - Mark Coleman 3 - Randy Couture Now do these people receive some grief for having title fights coming off of a loss, or do we say well done for winning the belt coming off of a loss? Either way, here they are. There are a lot of them, so I'll just list the names here without going into too much detail. [LBSP] GOAT Nicco Montano, Jose Aldo (interim), Johny Hendricks, Carlos Newton, Murilo Bustamante, Dave Menne, Randy Couture (LHVY 2), Randy Couture (LHVY interim), Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture (HVY 3), and Kevin Randleman. UFC were obviously pretty keen on Randy, giving him title shots coming off of a loss 3 times. His interim and second reign at Light Heavyweight and his third reign at Heavyweight, Randy seemingly always got it done under pressure though. Streaks After So now who did the best after they won the belt? This one is quite easy to think about to be honest. The top prize goes to [LBSP] multiple time winner Anderson Silva. In amongst his 10 title defences, he also fought a few times at Light Heavyweight, and had a non-title Middleweight bout. This gives Anderson the top prize with 14 wins in a row after winning the belt. Next in the list is a tie for 2nd between Georges St-Pierre's reign at Welterweight starting when he won the Interim title, and Demetrious Johnson owning the Flyweight division. Both men have won 11 straight since Dana wrapped the belt around their waist. And finally in 3rd place is Jon Jones. Some people including myself would argue Jones deserves to be on the 'Undefeated until he won the belt' list too, with 13 fights going his way before he beat Shogun. Anyway we're past that section now, so his streak after winning the gold currently stands at 10, with 9 wins and 1 no contest. Whether or not he returns to the UFC, that streak is unlikely to end. Now we move onto the Champions who couldn't make one defence. It's another long list, so I'll paste it, then say a thing or two afterwards. Miesha Tate, Holly Holm, Cody Garbrandt, Jose Aldo (i), Eddie Alvarez, Johny Hendricks, Carlos Condit (i), Matt Serra, Georges St-Pierre, Carlos Newton, Georges St-Pierre, Luke Rockhold, Shogun Rua, Rashad Evans, Forest Griffin, Randy Couture (2), Vitor Belfort, Cain Velasquez, Shane Carwin (i), Frank Mir (i), Antonio Nogueira (i), Frank Mir, Ricco Rodriguez, Randy Couture, and Mark Coleman. You might guess the (i) means it was an interim title win, and the (2) means it was Randys second reign at Light Heavyweight. Nicco Montano, Tony Ferguson (i), Conor McGregor and Robert Whittaker (i) is the second part of that list which is the Champions who haven't the time to defend their belts yet. Well, 3 of them haven't had time to. Longest Streaks overall This one might be a bit obvious, but I thought it might be worth looking at anyway. Rather than list them all, I'm only going to list fighters at 15+. 33 - Renan Barao ~~24 - Jon Jones ~~ 22 - Bas Rutten 20 - Cris Cyborg 19 - Jose Aldo 17 - Tim Sylvia & Anderson Silva 16 - Lyoto Machida 15 - Rashad Evans & Conor McGregor Generous, and not so generous divisions There's a few ways I could do this, but I think the best way to work this one out is counting the number of champions, adding up their streaks before winning, and dividing by the champions to find the average streak, and then naming them. Oh damn reddit has a tables function... alright lemme try this out.
Uh oh. Either my stupid statistics are wrong, or Nicco Montano isn't the GOAT, but just fortunate. Well, let's ignore that because it doesn't agree with my delicate sensibilities. We'll also throw out Womens Featherweight since we're only looking at 2 very different samples, and Bantamweight since Barao screwed that average up for everyone. So with that being said it seems the easiest divisions are Lightweight and Welterweight. However this shows Tony Ferguson is responsible for about one third of Lightweights streaks before winning. Without Ferguson their average is 2.1, rather than 2.8 so I think we can give this award to the Lightweight division. At the other end of the table is Featherweight. With Aldo, McGregor and Holloway all on decent winning streaks before receiving their title fight. If you took out Aldos interim title win, the average goes up from 8.25 to 11. Tough going at 145. Other stuff Here's some stuff, I noticed. Some Champions received title fights off of a loss which we've already covered, but some of those also lost their next fight too. In this list we have Randy Coutures second reign at Light Heavyweight, Dave Menne at Middleweight, Carlos Newton, Johny Hendricks although some may argue..., and Jose Aldo's Interim Featherweight title reign. Four Champions in a row won the belt on a 4-fight winning streak. Frankie Edgar won 3 then beat BJ Penn. Benson Henderson won 3 then beat Frankie. Anthony Pettis won 3 then beat Bendo. Rafael Dos Anjos won 3 then beat Showtime. Then we decrease, when Eddie Alvarez won 2 then beat RDA, and Conor McGregor won 1 then beat Alvarez. After all that decreasing we jump up huge to Tony Ferguson winning 9 before he beat Kevin Lee. In opposite fashion the Bantamweight champions won fewer and fewer fights after winning the title. Barao won 3 before losing to TJ Dillashaw. TJ won 2 before losing to Dominick Cruz. DC won 1 before losing to Cody Garbrandt, and No love didn't even win 1 before he lost the title back to TJ. Consecutive new champions didn't happen as often a I'd have imagined. The record is 3 champions losing their belts back to back, but this one might be a bit skewed, since it was two interim champs losing unification fights with Brock Lesnar before the Beast lost his undisputed title to Cain Velasquez. 2 times happened a few times though. At Light Heavyweight, Vitor Belfort lost his first title defence to Randy Coutures second title reign, and then Randy lost his first defence to Chuck Liddell. Then later on Forest Griffin lost his first title defence to Rashad Evans, who lost his first title defence to Lyoto Machida. This streak would have been 4, had Machida not won his first defence against the guy he eventually lost to, Shogun. 2 times also happened in the Welterweight division sort of. Georges St-Pierre won the title, then lost to Matt Serra, who then lost to GSP again. During Matts title reign however GSP did win the interim title, so I don't know if you want to count that or not. And lastly in the Womens Bantamweight division, who can forget November 2015-July 2016? Holly Holm wins the title from dominant Champion Ronda Rousey, and loses her first title defence to Miesha Tate, who then loses her first defence to Amanda Nunes. This streak ended there though after Nunes successfully defended her title against Rousey at UFC 207. Fighters who managed to turn it around? They lost a fight, won a title, then kept winning. Tito Ortiz is the king here. The Huntington Beach Badboy received a shot at the vacant Light Heavyweight title having just lost to former Champion Frank Shamrock. Tito beat Wanderlei Silva for the gold and went on to win 5 straight, including a victory over the person who last beat him, former Champion Frank Shamrock. This isn't a particularly common trait, and the next longest is Daniel Cormier's current streak. Seemingly unbeatable Champion Jon Jones managed to beat himself, and had to vacate the title after his hit-and-run incident. 3 months earlier he had beaten Daniel Cormier, and with the title now vacant Cormier fought Anthony Johnson and won. Since winning the belt DC has beaten Alexander Gustafsson, Anderson Silva in a non-title fight, and Rumble Johnson again before competing in a No contest with Jones. He fights again at UFC 220 next week to tie this record with Tito, DC currently sits on 4. And just to finish off this list and the post, other fighters to win after losing include Kevin Randleman, Randy Coutures 3rd Heavyweight title reign and interim Light Heavyweight reign, and Murilo Bustamante. These 3 men each had 1 successful defence after winning the title coming off of a loss. Thanks for reading my longest post yet! If you have any suggestions for stuff you're interested in seeing, please reply below. I can't count stuff like 'Who has received the most significant strikes in their career' though. Unless you give me a source for that information, in which case I will try my best. As usual here is my very large table, and tl;dr is read it.
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