Wrestling Observer Newsletter Rewind Thread • 1997
I still read these here. And reddit is blocked at work, so....
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- Scott Hall voluntarily checked himself into rehab this week and that's about all the details Dave has as of press time. On Nitro, they acknowledged Hall wasn't there but didn't give a reason why. As of now, there's no word on how long he's expected to be gone or how it will affect upcoming shows where he's scheduled to be a part of. But regardless, he's expected to be gone for at least a little while and WCW is continuing to advertise him for shows and have given fans no clue that Hall won't be there, which is a poor way to handle the situation (Yeah, that gets worse over the next few weeks as WCW continues to falsely advertise him despite knowing he won't be there).

- Wrestlemania 13 is in the books and it was 100% the Bret Hart and Steve Austin show. Their match stole the show and established Austin as the top babyface, Hart as the top heel, and even got Ken Shamrock over as a legit threat. Before reviewing the show, Dave goes into an examination of WWF's new edgier product, with blood, foul language, and sexual content. Dave doesn't mind it, but he does think it's funny and hypocritical that just last year, Vince was writing letters to Ted Turner about how barbaric it was that he would allow blading, and now they're showing close-ups of a bloody Austin on the biggest show of the year. But hey, desperate times. Anyway, the show more than doubled the largest gate ever for wrestling in Chicago. Also, Dave talks about some of the signs in the crowd. He says the most creative poster was someone who had made giant cut-out cardboard scissors with "Arn" and "Sid" written on it. And the least creative sign? The "Austin 3:16" signs because everybody has them.

- Anyway, other notes from the show: Rocky Maivia has the look and ability to some day be a big star but a lot of people resent his push because he's not ready yet. Austin/Hart was a classic with a perfectly executed double-turn that Dave says we'll all remember for a long time (true dat) and gives it the full 5 stars. Shawn Michaels did commentary on the main event and during his entrance, he looked right in the camera and gave the NWO hand signal (aka the "too sweet" hand gesture). On Nitro the next night, Kevin Nash cut a promo and said, "Right back at ya, HBK." Sid/Undertaker was as bad as you'd expect and marred by repeated Bret Hart run-ins and Dave says all the screwjobs and multiple title changes in the last few months have destroyed the credibility of the title. But regardless, the Bret/Austin match was so good that it overshadowed much of the bad.

- One final Wrestlemania note: Curt Hennig, has been expected to join WCW when his WWF contract expires. Last week, however, Hennig had a meeting with Vince McMahon and there was rumored to be a plan that would involve Hennig making a surprise appearance at Wrestlemania. The idea being that it would be like the time WCW stole Lex Luger from WWF, they wanted to have Hennig show up at Mania as a "fuck you" to WCW. However, Eric Bischoff got word of the meeting and contacted Hennig who assured Bischoff that he was just messing with McMahon and had no plans of showing up at Wrestlemania. But until the show aired, no one was sure if Hennig would show up or not. When he didn't, WCW was relieved, as you would expect. They also had Curt Hennig's father Larry Hennig appear on Nitro the next night in order to tease that Curt is coming to WCW.

- Giant Baba again proved to have significant political power in Japan, as he was able to get Steve Williams into the country after just being arrested a few days before for drug possession. Japan is really strict about keeping drug offenders out of the country and Dave again tells the story of Paul McCartney being banned for many years due to his drug charges. Baba having enough pull to get Williams allowed into the country shows just how respected he is there. Word is Williams was lucky his passport wasn't taken away when he was arrested. The amount of drugs he was busted with was enough that it's a surprise that he wasn't charged with intent to distribute and was lucky they allowed him to post bond. Williams had been heavily promoted for an upcoming AJPW tour so Baba pulled strings to get Williams allowed back in Japan for the shows.

- All Japan Women held their annual biggest show of the year, but the crowd was a disappointment. They only drew around 5,000 to the Yokohama Arena, which is the 2nd smallest pro wrestling crowd ever for that building. The first, you ask? WWF when they decided to tour Japan a few years ago and flopped. Anyway, AJW has been waning in popularity in recent years.

- Missy Hyatt has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in the new Howard Stern movie Private Parts. There's a scene with a bunch of lesbians in bikinis in a cave. Missy Hyatt is one of them. Dave also says Missy is still making appearances on various daytime talk shows, talking about her various cosmetic surgeries and also says she's expecting her first child (it's been a few years since I've watched that movie but I've seen it several times and I don't remember a lesbian cave scene? Deleted scene maybe? Or am I just forgetting it?)

- Great Sasuke suffered a broken orbital bone in a match this week. He's scheduled to face Jushin Liger for the J Crown title at the Tokyo Dome in 2 weeks and then immediately flies to the U.S. to wrestle at the ECW PPV the next day. Knowing Sasuke, Dave expects him to work through the matches.

- USWA's Brian Christopher is expected to start with WWF soon. He's actually been under WWF contract for about 2 years despite never wrestling for them. Christopher has pretty much been USWA's top star in recent years and has been the only one really keeping the promotion afloat. Lawler announced on USWA TV that Christopher was headed to WWF, but said he'll continue to work USWA shows also.

- ECW held another show in Revere, MA and once again, the crowd was said to be completely disrespectful and awful. Pretty much ever since the Mass Transit incident (where they chanted terrible things at the injured kid and at the paramedics trying to keep him from bleeding to death), the Revere, MA crowd has gained a reputation as the worst of what ECW fans represent.

- Lots of rumors about ECW guys leaving the promotion after the PPV. Dave knows Rob Van Dam has been offered a deal by WCW, but he hasn't accepted it yet.

- Dave criticizes a Sandman vs. Balls Mahoney match that aired on TV because of the absolutely sick unprotected chairshots to the head. Dave says the idea of wrestling is to make it look real without actually hurting each other. The chairshots were so hard that "you can almost see the brain cells dying" and says they should't be trying to give each other concussions just to prove how tough they are. Relax Dave, I'm sure it's fine...

- Random notes from Nitro: Dean Malenko has been getting unusually loud crowd reactions and is one of the most over people on the show lately. Mortis has great ring presence and has lots of potential, but the martial arts gimmick is death (we're 6+ months into the Glacier era and Dave has still yet to pick up on the fact that this was all an attempt to leech off the Mortal Kombat popularity). The reason the NWO was standing tall at the end of the show was because Kevin Nash has been complaining lately that he and Hall were selling too much and putting over the WCW guys too much and that it was weakening the NWO gimmick so the ending was done to appease Nash. And finally, Hogan wasn't on the show this week because the show was in Minnesota, and he hasn't been back to MN since the sexual assault allegations from last year and is apparently avoiding being in the state.

- Eddie Guerrero will be out of action for about 6 months due to a torn pec muscle. He was scheduled to be in the NJPW Top of the Super Junior tournament in May, where he is the defending champion, but it's questionable if he'll be able to work that tour.

- Dave says that if you read any stories in the tabloids about Rey Misterio Jr. and one of the women from the TV show Friends, don't believe it. It's 100% a work. And that's all he says. What the fuck Dave, elaborate! (he explains more in the coming weeks)

- The New York Daily News had a story about Chris Jericho being the son of former NY Ranger hockey player Ted Irvine. It also featured a story about Dale Torborg, who is the son of former Mets manager Jeff Torborg. Word is Dale is training to be a pro wrestler (he would later become WCW's KISS Demon, but we'll get to that eventually...)

- After Disco Inferno was fired last week for refusing to put over Jacquelyn, Eric Bischoff reportedly told Disco that he'll never find another job for the rest of his life making $80,000 a year, just as a parting shot as he was walking out the door. Disco has a 3-month non-compete clause in his contract, so if WWF is interested, it will at least be a few months before he can go.

- Both WWF and USA Network put out apologies for Bret Hart's swearing on live TV last week and they are starting to air the show now on a 7-second delay so they can edit out swearing. This week on Raw, they even edited out words like "sucks" and "ass" just to show how serious they are I guess.

- The big angle on Raw was Bret Hart cutting a promo to turn himself heel in the U.S. while making sure he stays a babyface everywhere else, especially Canada. Hart ran down the American fans and said they glamorize people like Charles Manson and O.J. Simpson. Shawn Michaels came out to do the standard defend-the-fans promo and took a few shots at Bret, calling him "mark man" for taking himself so seriously, among other things (these promos are when you can really start to feel the real-life hatred these 2 had for each other).


- WWF has reportedly been making offers to some of the guys who are training at WCW's Power Plant. They aren't under contract to WCW, they're just training at their place. Needless to say, WCW is irritated about it.

- WCW has a show booked in Los Angeles in June. In turn, WWF then booked a show on the same night less than an hour away in Anaheim, just to stick it to WCW.

- The Slammy's aired the night before Wrestlemania and was pretty much built around the bikini contest between Sunny, Marlena, Sable, and the Funkettes (Flash Funk's girls). Dave actually goes on a brief tangent about unrealistic beauty standards for women and then talks about how all the awards were works, and not voted on by the fans. Also he says all the jokes on the show were awful and Vince was the only one laughing who seemed to find it funny. There were also a lot of sad and desperate digs at WCW that Dave thinks were more pathetic than anything. Overall, the show went to a lot of work to try to push Sable ahead of Sunny as the woman they will be giving a big push to. At one point, Helmsley made a tacky comment about Sunny, saying she's "only good for one thing and he's heard from his best friend that she isn't even very good at that" which apparently upset some people and understandably so (I believe Shawn and Sunny had split up around this time and Shawn was being openly hostile towards her. We're also getting close to the "Sunny Days" promo. Anyway, here's Pt. 1 of the full show. Let the videos keep playing and it should auto-play parts 2, 3, 4, etc.).

- Expect Charles Wright (Papa Shango/Kama) to return soon. He's been managing a strip club in Las Vegas since leaving the WWF last (I think he still runs strip clubs in Vegas to this day).

- On a radio show in Toronto, Bret Hart actually tried to walk back some of the comments he's made in the past about Ric Flair. Bret talked about how he's approaching 40 years old himself and said his comments about Flair being old and washed up, "It's all coming back to haunt me. It's kind of a misconception because I do like Ric Flair actually. What it is about Flair is that I just don't think he was the best wrestler in the world. When you say that you offend everyone. I rate him in the top 30 or 40, maybe the top 20. He was really good in a lot of ways. He was a great wrestler. I'm a little less harsh on Ric because I notice I'm going through a lot of the same things he went through. Nobody worked harder than Ric Flair. He worked very hard and I don't know how he stayed with it as long as he did. He didn't ever look the part of an embarrassment like Hogan. Hogan was never a genuine guy. I'd like to say a lot of the things I've said about Ric Flair have sort of been misinterpreted. He was just from a professional standpoint of one wrestler to another, he was this legend that everybody talked about for years and years and years and years. Finally I get in the ring to wrestle the greatest wrestler of all-time kind of thing. I've wrestled a lot of really great wrestlers, which maybe a lot of people don't realize. When it was all said and done, he was good, but he wasn't the greatest. I've wrestled too many guys who were way better than this guy. He's still very good and he's a great wrestler in his own right, especially at his age. Maybe when he was younger he was that legend. Terry Funk at the Rumble, he and I started talking and I said I'd like to go a few more years. I'm sort of wondering about it even right now. I don't want to see myself embarrassing myself like Hogan has. Funk told me, 'I just love it too much to give it up.' I don't have that problem. I actually look forward someday to going home for good and watching tapes of myself."
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I just don't get why WCW were doing a MK gimmick in 97. By 97 MK was dying. That was around Mortal Kombat 4 and and the second MK movie, and both were fucking garbage. It'd be like if WWE tried to get Bobby Roode over today with a Yu Gi Oh gimmick.
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Eh, Glacier debuted in 96. Around that time, Ultimate MK3 was still the hot shit.

And while MK4 definitely wasn't great, nobody really knew that in early-97. MK4 came out in late-97 and there was a TON of hype for it at the time. It ended up basically killing the popularity of the franchise but nobody predicted that at the time. But before that, it was still super popular.

Now, as for why Glacier was still around in 1998......that's a good question.
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I looked it up and holy shit Glacier was still around as late as fucking February 2001!

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I read these here as well. Every single day at lunch lol...I know 1 person may not do it, but yanno.
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Yeah he was, but he was basically a parody of the same character. He had disappeared for a good year or so and then they brought him back and treated him like Hurricane in WWF. He was a comedy character and the gimmick was basically them making fun of the Glacier character.
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Nah it's all good, I'll keep posting them here too. It's easier to do them here than on Reddit anyway, I always have to do a lot of formatting on Reddit. I usually post them here first, re-read for spelling errors and make sure all the links still work and then I copy and paste it over to Reddit after and add the formatting for that site.
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I read these religiously. Signed up to the forum just for them. Thanks for these. I went to Wrestlemania 13 so I'm super curious about these next couple weeks!
Welcome Joe!

If you enjoyed that, you'll love this:

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Oh snap, a new person, shit! Put away the drugs and porn you guys, we have company!

But nah, welcome! Glad you're here.
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I've probably been lurking this forum since it's inception even though I can't even remember where this site was derived from. RJ? SFU? Whatever. I've been to pretty much every major wrestling show in Chicago over the last 20 years and have probably seen every WWF/E title change hands at some point. I saw Punk beat Cena. I saw Bret beat Austin. I saw Jinder beat Orton. Not sure what was the bigger moment for me. I'll try and post more in the forum but yanno. Thanks for the recaps though!

- We open with the usual long obituary for Dr. Bill Miller, a top star from the 50s and 60s. He was known as Dr. because he was also a veterinarian. When other wrestlers were boozing and chasing women in their off time, Miller was known for hitting the books and studying vet medicine. It features quotes from a ton of different wrestlers all talking about how Miller was the most well-liked guy ever, never an ego problem, never had an issue doing jobs, was always reliable and on time, no drug or alcohol or marital problems, etc. Basically just a straight laced Boy Scout of a wrestler. However, he's most well known for being involved in 2 famous backstage fights. He was involved in the famous fight in 1962 that led to NWA champion Buddy Rogers getting his arm broken and throwing the NWA title plans into chaos. The other happened in Japan where the promotion he was working for told Miller to beat the shit out of a rookie they wanted to punish for some reason and, well, he did. He often worked as a masked heel and Dave recaps his career. Pretty interesting if you're a history buff.

- Another eulogy of sorts, this time for Extreme Fighting Championships, the MMA company that has basically been driven out of business by the government crack down on the sport. They just had a PPV event and at least they went out in style, saying the show was the best MMA event in America since the sport began. Dave reviews all the fights and talks about the Maurice Smith vs. Murakami Kazunari having the single most devastating knockout in American MMA history. This is a slow issue, so let's check it out, shall we?

- Nobuhiko Takada's new shoot fighting promotion in Japan will be called Kingdom (nope, ends up being PRIDE) and will feature "worked UFC-style matches." Many former UWFI wrestlers have signed on to join the promotion. (To this day, I think there's confusion and disagreement over how many and which fights in Pride were works and which were legit.)

- All Japan TV spent most of an entire episode airing tributes to their referee who recently retired. Dave loved it because they played tons of old AJPW clips from back in the 70s and 80s, showing this referee's most famous moments, all the ref bumps he took, famous match finishes he counted, etc. It was really interesting because these days, AJPW is known as a straight-laced, pure workrate, clean finish company with no real angles. But back in the day, they used to do tons of angles, screwjob finishes, bloody brawls, and gimmicks and Dave was loving getting to see all the old days of AJPW that I assume he'd never really seen much of before.

- Dave notes that Fake Diesel and Fake Razor are still working under those gimmicks at AAA shows in Mexico. WWF though, is pretty much done with them.

- Eric Bischoff and Sonny Onno showed up at a NJPW show last week did an angle where Masa Saito quit NJPW to join the NWO. There's also reportedly plans for most of the NWO, including Hogan, Nash, and Hall if he's able, to go to Japan for a NJPW show at the Osaka Dome in May. The NWO angle is doing huge business in Japan. Also, on the same show, they introduced a new IWGP title belt that reportedly cost $90,000. Here's that belt for all you belt marks.

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- Bison Kimura is the latest Japanese women's wrestler to pose nude for a magazine there (google is your friend).

- USWA is reportedly only doing about $10,000 per week in total business and a lot of people feel the promotion is on its dying last legs (yup).

- USWA is also trying to get Jerry Lawler's girlfriend Stacy over as a Sunny-type character and Dave says she is very pretty, but she lacks TV charisma.

- ECW made a ton of money on merch and ran 3 shows over the weekend. It's said to have been the most money ECW has ever brought in on a single weekend. Side note, before one of the shows in Pittsburgh, they frisked fans for weapons and found a ton of people trying to bring knives in that ended up getting confiscated.

- Chris Candido suffered a partial bicep tear and may need surgery that will keep him out of action for awhile (he missed about a month). Sandman also suffered 3 cracked ribs but is still expected to work the PPV.

- There's lots of rumors that Rob Van Dam may be leaving ECW for WCW. Over the weekend, someone asked Van Dam about his martial arts background and Van Dam told them, "Wait a few weeks and you'll hear about it from Mike Tenay." Word is Sabu has also sent out feelers to WWF, hoping they would bring him in, but word is WWF isn't all that interested due to Sabu's track record. Sabu is under contract to ECW until the end of the year regardless. Overall, there's a lot of stress in ECW backstage, mostly because the PPV is coming up and everyone's nervous, plus concerns over WCW being interested in poaching their stars. After a recent show, Heyman gave a 75-minute (!!!) speech to all the wrestlers that was basically a motivational, "let's all pull together as a group to make this succeed" and he talked about Sabu sacrificing so much for the company. The speech had Sabu in legit tears. WCW also has a show coming up in Philadelphia the night after the ECW PPV and Heyman said that if anyone from the company goes to the WCW show, not to ever talk to him again because any relationship they have (friends or business) would be over forever. He said that if anyone wants to leave ECW, to tell him now and he'd get them a meeting with Vince McMahon or he'd release them from their contract and let them negotiate with WCW. Van Dam was the only person to tell Heyman that he was considering the WCW offer, but that he would at least be staying with ECW through June.

- Missy Hyatt was on the Howard Stern Easter special this week, in a segment where Stern finger painted her boobs (can't find this anywhere).

- A student at the WCW Power Plant who wrestled under the name Sharkey was murdered in Mariette, GA after an argument with another driver turned violent and he was shot. The shooter turned himself in later.

- Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff missed Nitro this week because they were in Chicago for the premiere of Dennis Rodman's movie "Double Team" (with Jean Claude Van Dam).

- Scott Hall was obviously not at Nitro either and on TV, Nash explained it by simply saying that Hall is taking care of problems that are more important than wrestling. Word is part of the situation with Hall is that his marriage is falling apart and that was the breaking point that led to him checking into rehab. There's no word on whether Hall will be working the upcoming PPV this weekend (he's booked to defend the tag titles with Nash against the Steiners). Bischoff has been telling people that Hall will be there. WCW has handled this whole thing terribly because it's known that Hall isn't going to be at any of the upcoming shows, but they continue to advertise him, even pushing the idea on TV that he still may be at the PPV. It's blatant false advertising, which seems to be one of Dave's biggest pet peeves.

- Other random Nitro notes: Prince Iaukea is apparently awful and Dave tends to reference it in every issue lately. He's basically a jobber that has been pushed way beyond his talent level. DDP faced some jobber named Lance Ringo, who showed potential (he later became Sick Boy in Raven's Flock). Curt Hennig was backstage and has been training for a wrestling comeback for when he joins the company in a few weeks.

- They did an angle where someone attacked Arn Anderson at his hotel, which is how they explained the surgery he needs. The plan is for it to eventually be revealed that Chris Benoit was the one who did it, which would lead to a Benoit vs. Flair storyline (after Flair is healed up from his recent shoulder surgery). The idea is for Benoit to form his own version of the Four Horsemen to go against Flair's. Benoit's Horsemen will likely be Dean Malenko, Chris Jericho, and Steve Regal (shit, that would have been awesome).

- WCW's plan is for Starrcade to be their yearly big event (like their version of Wrestlemania) and the plan now is to hold off on the Hogan vs. Sting match until then and try to promote it as the biggest match in the history of the company. Worked out okay.

- Last week, you may recall that Dave said WWF had booked a show in Anaheim the same night as a WCW show just a few miles away in Los Angeles. To retaliate, WCW is heavily promoting the house show as Saturday Nitro. It won't air on TV, but they're treating it like a TV taping, with all the pyro, stage sets, big stars, celebrity guest appearances, etc. in order to try and hurt WWF's house show that night.

- The National Enquirer did indeed run a story this week saying that Rey Misterio Jr. is dating Friends star Jennifer Anniston but Dave says there's nothing to it. It's just WCW's idea to try to get Misterio some publicity because they want to give him a big push. Dave says maybe they should figure out how to book him effectively first instead of having him lose on the last 5 straight PPVs.

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- Preliminary buyrate for Wrestlemania is 0.77 which, if true, is a downright disaster and down significantly from last year. it would be by far the lowest WM buyrate ever. Most of WCW''s recent PPVs have done better buyrates.

- Injury report: Vader has some knee issues and had to get it drained last week. Faarooq suffered a separated shoulder, bruised ribs, and a punctured lung from a bump during the Chicago street fight match at Wrestlemania.

- On Raw, they did an angle where Bret Hart joined forces with his brother Owen and British Bulldog. The plan is to form a new Hart Foundation group. There's been talk of adding Brian Pillman as a 4th member but that hasn't been decided for sure yet.

- They aired a lot of UFC footage for Ken Shamrock on Raw and there's more to it than just a video deal, as WWF and UFC have reportedly got some sort of working agreement in place. They will continue to trade footage, so if Tony Halme fights for UFC, you may see some WWF footage being used. They've also agreed not to say anything bad about each other publicly and WWF has agreed to promote the May 30th UFC PPV.

- Funny note from the Raw and Nitro ratings battle. On Nitro, they had a women's title match between Akira Hokuto vs. Debbie Combs. At the WCW booking meeting earlier that day, when they were laying out the show, someone made a remark saying that they would surely lose the quarter hour ratings during that match. Someone else replied and said, "Well, unless WWF puts Sid on at the same time." Lo and behold, during the Hokuto vs. Combs match on Nitro, Sid was cutting a promo on Raw. No word on what the ratings were for that quarter-hour period (we'll find out tomorrow!).

- Dave says someone sent him a magazine article with some photos about Chyna from before she started in WWF. He says "Let's just say that while she looked like a bodybuilder in the photos, she looked nowhere near as freaky as she does in her current role."

- Vince McMahon and Bruce Prichard had a meeting with Curt Hennig and his father Larry last week at WWF headquarters in Stamford. Reportedly Vince and Prichard were an hour late and the Hennigs were just about to walk out and leave when they arrived. During the meeting, they discussed the possibility of Hennig returning but it reportedly didn't go well, as Hennig is still upset about WWF costing him his Lloyd's of London insurance policy (which would have paid Hennig a $350,000 lump sum payment). If you recall, WWF wanted Hennig to return to the ring a few months ago and in the midst of negotiations, WWF sent a letter to Lloyd's over the insurance issues, that resulted in Lloyd's cancelling Hennig's policy. Bruce Prichard reportedly sent the letter that caused the problem and in the meeting, he claimed to know nothing about it. In turn, Hennig pulled out a copy of the letter, signed by Prichard, and showed it to him. Anyway, the meeting didn't go well and WCW is confident that he'll be coming to their side when his WWF contract expires. Last week, they had Larry Hennig on the show to cut a promo, specifically to show WWF that Curt is with them. As for Curt, word is he's much bigger and bulkier than he has been in recent years (draw your own conclusions from that).

- WWF will be running a tour of Kuwait next week (there's gonna be a big story coming out of that).

- Shawn Michaels is expected back in the ring in May and they may do a Bret vs. Shawn match at King of the Ring.

- Honky Tonk Man has been hyping up a mystery man who he will manage. There's a ton of rumors that it will be Brian Christopher, but Dave says he doesn't think it will be him (indeed, it was not).

- WWF has rescinded their contract offer to Steve Williams following his recent drug arrest.

- There was a lot of heat on both Shawn Michaels and Hunter Hearst Helmsley this week. In Shawn's case, people were upset about him throwing up the NWO symbol right into the camera at Wrestlemania. In Helmsley's case, it was due to the comments he made about Sunny at the Slammy's.

- Lots of rumors about Disco Inferno heading to WWF, but there have been no negotiations so far.
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There were very few worked PRIDE matches, fewer than 10 and all early on. Almost all of which were Nobuhiko Takada's fights(unsurprisingly).
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- ECW will hold its first ever PPV event this week. It's been the most discussed PPV of the year within the whole industry and is more important to the future of ECW than any show they've ever held. Dave discusses whether the show will do a good enough buyrate to be considered a success. As for whether they will go over the line, Dave says no chance. They nearly lost their chance on PPV because of a series of incidents that went too far. Dave says there will be blood and swearing, but they aren't going to set the building on fire or slice open underage kids. This PPV is a basically a test, and if it does well, it will lead to more PPVs in the future and ECW won't risk doing anything to sacrifice that possibility. Dave says stress and tension in ECW has been through the roof, with so many wrestlers on edge due to the upcoming show. Many wrestlers have told Dave privately that they wish the PPV would hurry up and be over so they could get back to normal. There will also be a lot of eyes on Joey Styles, who will be calling his first live show ever, and will do it all solo.

- Dave breaks down all the matches and storylines on the show. The main storyline has mostly been built as old, sad man Terry Funk trying to win the world championship for one final time. Dave recaps all the various times Funk has "retired" and talks about how time is catching up to Funk. He's in his 50s and his body is destroyed. ECW has been promoting him as over the hill so much that fans are starting to believe it and he hasn't been getting much of a reaction at recent shows. But Heyman wants to end the show with the image of Funk pulling off the emotional victory and Funk clearly hasn't been the top level performer he once was. For the show to have the ending Paul Heyman envisions, it will require Funk to pull out yet another miracle in a career full of them.

- It's pretty much expected now that Rob Van Dam will be leaving for WCW in June, with many ECW fans chanting "You sold out!" at him at the latest show. There's also concern that Sabu will leave, but his track record of no shows and incidents in the last year or so has killed a lot of the interest in him from other promotions. There's also been interest in guys like Raven and Stevie Richards, but nothing major. As for the other main core guys (Taz, Dreamer, Dudleys, Eliminators, Sandman, The Gangstas, Shane Douglas, etc.) there's not really a lot interest in any of them from other promotions for various reasons.

- WCW's Spring Stampede PPV happened and was...fine, but otherwise forgettable. The announcing was only mildly atrocious this time. Dave also calls WCW reprehensible for the fact that they knew weeks ago that Scott Hall wouldn't be there but continued to advertise him for the show. Even during the pre-show right before the PPV started, they teased that Hall and Nash would be defending the titles, but after the PPV started, they finally told the fans that he wouldn't be there. Hall is still out dealing with personal issues (failing marriage and some other vices that landed him in rehab). They did an angle to have Scott Steiner "arrested" to explain why there wouldn't be a Hall & Nash vs. Steiners tag match. Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Ultimo Dragon stole the show. Benoit's hand was bleeding during his match because he cut it in a car accident earlier in the day and the wound re-opened. DDP vs. Randy Savage headlined and was a really good match also, but the crowd was waiting for Sting to show up and he never did, so that was a disappointment.

- Mankind will make a one-night return to FMW in Japan, under the name Cactus Jack, and will team with Terry Funk and The Gladiator in a hardcore match against Atsushi Onita, Masato Tanaka, and Kintaro Kanemura. The show will also be headlined by a women's electrified barbed wire match that will be the retirement for FMW women's star Megumi Kudo (juggalos are more familiar with Megumi Kudo from this):

Whole show

- Indie wrestler Sean Morley has been drawing comparisons to 80s-era Lex Luger, with people saying he's really green in the ring but has a great physique (of course, within a year, he'd be in WWF as Val Venis).

- Konnan has a recurring role on a Mexican soap opera called Tric Trac.

- NJPW was hoping to get the entire NWO to appear at an Osaka Dome show next month, but Hogan won't be there because NJPW wasn't willing to meet his price demands. And Savage is injured (more on that in a bit), so he likely won't be there either. That leaves Nash, Hall, Syxx, and the others. And of course, Hall's status is still up in the air also but he's expected to be back by then. Several other WCW stars like Sting and Luger are expected as well.

- Fake Diesel and Fake Razor did an angle at the latest USWA show, where they came out and attacked everybody during the show. The whole thing is a "WWF is better than USWA" thing, with the USWA guys trying to defend their company against the WWF guys. Fake Diesel even cut a promo talking about how Jerry Lawler brought him into WWF (back when he was introduced as Isaac Yankem). Since Lawler works for both, the big angle is about who's side Lawler is on.

- Dave talks about the other USWA guys who are actually under contract to WWF, which is basically a faction called the Truth Commission. The Commandment is a decent run-of-the-mill manager. Tank, who used to be Mantaur, is awful, even worse than he was before. Recon (Barry Buchanan) isn't necessarily good, but he's the best of the group. And "the tall Canadian" (Kurrgan) is really terrible. Also, the former bodybuilder Achim Albrecht is working here, under the name Brackus and is super green. But Dave says he's better than both Ultimate Warrior or Sting were when they worked in Memphis back in the 80s, so maybe he'll turn out okay (nah, he washed out of the biz a year or two later).

- Sandman and Shane Douglas nearly got into a backstage fight at ECW this week. Dave has heard a million different versions of the story but in short, Shane Douglas wanted Brian Lee fired for some reason. Sandman reportedly told Lee about it which led to Douglas calling Sandman a stooge and they had words and had to be pulled apart. Then a few nights later, they were doing an angle in the ring and Douglas used Sandman's cane on someone. Sandman felt it was infringing on his gimmick and they started to fight again. Paul Heyman spoke to both of them separately and then got them in a room together and the 3 of them talked it all out for a long time and eventually the situation was settled. Speaking of Brian Lee...

- Brian Lee suffered a hairline fracture of his C-5 and C-6 vertebrae in his neck during a match with Terry Funk. He worked the next night against Stevie Richards, but it was only a 15 second match. Lee is expected to see a doctor this week (that was it for him in ECW. He never wrestled there again and turned up 2 months later in WWF).

- Stevie Richards and Axl Rotten both had major heat in ECW this week. Richards went on Mark Madden's radio show and joked about going to WCW if they would pay him more than Chris Jericho. Then he worked an indie show where he put over Disco Inferno clean. Heyman was upset because Richards is supposed to be in a major match at the ECW PPV next week and they didn't want him doing clean jobs to guys like Disco Inferno before the biggest show in company history. As for Axl Rotten, he went to WCW's show in Baltimore and was used as one of the security guards who broke up a Chris Benoit/Kevin Sullivan fight. Needless to say, Heyman (who hates WCW) wasn't thrilled.

- Sandman and Balls Mahoney did an angle where Balls challenged anyone who could go blow-for-blow with him on chairshots. Sandman eventually answered the challenge and the two men took turns trading hard chairshots to each other's heads. The idea is to build up Balls as a guy who is willing to take crazy chairshots to the skull, thus earning Sandman's respect, and they will eventually form a tag team. And that, folks, is how you get CTE.


- Disco Inferno has been telling indie promoters that he isn't available for any dates after July 1st, so he's probably headed to WWF at that point (nope).

- Randy Savage suffered torn ligaments in his ankle during the match with DDP at Spring Stampede. Savage apparently didn't feel any pain during the match and didn't know it until he woke up in intense pain the next morning. It's believed he'll be out for several months.

- Remember in the last issue where WCW officials were joking that the Debbie Combs vs. Akira Hokuto match was going to lose in the quarter-hour ratings against Raw, and then someone else chimed in and said, "Unless WWF has Sid on at the same time." And then, sure enough, Raw put Sid on at the same time. Well, turns out WCW was right: not only did the Combs/Hokuto match beat Raw during that segment, but it ended up being the 2nd highest rated segment of Nitro. People REALLY didn't want to watch Sid I guess.

- There's a lot of behind the scenes heat between different "factions" in WCW. Kevin Sullivan has his own group of supporters and Hulk Hogan has his, and they're butting heads. Dave gives an example from the recent Nitro when Kevin Nash (who is in the Hogan camp) cut a promo where he was supposed to tease issues among the NWO members. Instead, Nash cut a promo talking about "Little Napolean" (Sullivan) backstage giving orders to people.

- AAA president Antonio Pena has filed a lawusit against WCW claiming that the Mexican wrestlers who signed WCW contracts did so illegally because they're still under contract to AAA. Part of Pena's agreement with WWF was that Pena promised he could get all of the Mexican stars working in WCW to come to WWF because he claims he has valid contracts with them. Interestingly enough, the lawsuit names most of the Mexicans that WCW is using but doesn't name Rey Misterio Jr. which is the main wrestler WWF wanted most of all.

- Miss Elizabeth was recently engaged to a lawyer from Miami (the marraige doesn't last long).

- Dave says that the Rey Mysterio Jr./Jennifer Aniston story in the National Enquirer has gotten a lot of coverage and once again reminds everyone that it's complete bullshit. In other Mysterio news, his wife (yes, he's married, which also adds a fun wrinkle to the Aniston story) gave birth to a baby boy named Dominic last week. It was a big joke in the locker room because the baby was pretty big and everyone joked that it must have been Kevin Nash's son.

- Arn Anderson is scheduled for neck surgery this week. He will be out for at least 6 months, if he's able to return at all.

- Chris Benoit, Nancy Sullivan, and William Regal were in a car accident when they were hit by a drunk driver. The car they were in rolled over twice. Nancy was banged up and Benoit got a nasty cut on his hand (which opened up and bled everywhere during his PPV match). Funny note, Dave says that Benoit and Nancy do their angle all the time, even when they're not on TV, which is why they were riding together. At this point, Dave apparently isn't aware that it's not an angle anymore. Benoit and Nancy were for-real dating at this point, even though she was still technically married to Sullivan.

- Recently, Ted Turner was quoted as saying that the recent Heaven's Gate cult mass suicide was "a good way to get rid of a few nuts." In the New York Post, Phil Mushnick (who else) responded by writing, "Ted Turner should watch his mouth about last week's mass suicide being a good way to get rid of a few nuts. If not for America's lunatic fringe and the disaffected, his WCW televised pro wrestling would be out of business."

- Kimona from ECW may be debuting for WCW at an upcoming Nitro in Philadelphia.

- Word is WCW Uncensored did a 0.9 buyrate, which would mean it did bigger numbers than WWF's Wrestlemania (0.77). Who would have ever thought that was possible a year ago, Dave asks.

- Sid missed the latest Raw and was pulled from the PPV due to a back injury.

- On Raw, Shawn Michaels cut a 15-minute promo that was basically a shoot. Dave says it was the best part of either show, but it got murdered in the ratings by Nitro. Shawn tore into Bret Hart and his family, and says Bret complained about losing the title to Shawn. He said Bret left the WWF for most of the year because he was waiting for business to plummet with Shawn on top but instead they did the best business they'd done in 6 years, and McMahon confirmed it. (At this point, Dave interjects and says yes, business was good on top with Shawn but let's not pretend he was a Hogan-esque draw. TV ratings reached all-time lows with Shawn on top, and PPV buyrates sunk. Yes, house show business in 1996 was stronger than it had been in years, but the best months for that were February and March....when Bret was still champion. House show biz stayed strong in the summer, but it dropped again in the fall, at which point Vince opened the wallet to get Bret back. Plus, Dave talks about all of Shawn's various hissy fits and temper tantrums throughout the year and pretty much sums it up as Shawn trying to re-write history. He was a decent draw by 1996 standards, sure, but he didn't set the world on fire or anything). Shawn then went on to say Bret used "a rival organization" to stab WWF in the back and get them to pay him more money (Dave calls that smart negotiating) and just basically spent the whole promo shitting on Bret and talking about how he can't separate wrestling from real life.

- They also did a worked MMA-style match on Raw with Ken Shamrock facing one of his trainees named Vernon White. Even with Shamrock holding back, White was legit bloodied up badly and needed stitches. The cameras tried not to show the blood, but it was everywhere and there were huge bloodstains in the ring for the rest of the show. Otherwise, Dave said it was a bad segment and that worked MMA matches look bad and showed that they have no idea how to book Shamrock yet. The crowd didn't respond to any of it because they aren't used to seeing a match end with punches.

- On Shotgun Saturday Night, Sunny has been doing a gossip segment and said that a 4th member of the Hart Foundation will be added and said it will be someone who started his career in Stampede Wrestling, which almost certainly means Pillman. She also hinted at another UFC fighter coming in to challenge Ken Shamrock and hinted at his nickname being The Beast, which obviously means Dan Severn. No word on how much truth there is to that one.

- WWF reportedly reached out to Atsushi Onita about coming in, but Onita has no interest in wrestling in the U.S. Instead, WWF will likely be bringing in FMW wrestler Kintaro Kanemura for a tryout soon (never amounted to anything, but holy shit, WWF wanted Onita??)

- Expect Yokozuna to return later this year. Word is he's lost a ton of weight (still nope).

- Sports Illustrated magazine took time out to shit on pro wrestling this week. Earlier this year, the New Jersey governor signed a bill eliminating the athletic commission regulations on pro wrestling. For years, WWF avoided running shows in Jersey because of those regulations. Sports Illustrated gleefully said that WWF had to admit that pro wrestling isn't a sport in order to get the regulations dropped. Which, as everyone knows, WWF admitted that years ago. The story says, "Pro wrestling had long tried to insult everyone's intelligence by claiming that matches were genuine contests and that practitioners were true athletes." Dave says Sports Illustrated is insulting his intelligence by claiming that pro wrestlers aren't great athletes because they absolutely are.

- The Chicago Sun-Times newspaper did a story about the resurrgence of pro wrestling, with quotes from both Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff. Vince said his usual same complaints about Ted Turner trying to put him out of business and how WCW doesn't care about wrestling fans and all that. Eric Bischoff responded, saying: "Vince likes to cry about the deep pockets of Ted Turner and Time Warner, but we are a publicly held company. I can tell you that they have more production staff, better production facilities and a much bigger marketing budget. The difference is they don't have the talent. We do because that's where we spend our money." To that, Vince responded: "If Eric Bischoff says we spend more money in every area except talent, it's a blatant tie." In response, Bischoff: "We were profitable in 1995 and 1996. If Vince McMahon says differently, that's a blatant lie." And finally, one last one from McMahon:"They are willing to overpay for performers who are no longer in their athletic prime. There's no way I could match the exorbitant guaranteed figures of a billionaire willing to throw away his money."

- A fan writes in with 12 questions about WCW being shitty and Dave responds with 12 answers in varying degrees of snarkiness. Let's read it, shall we?

Some whys about the 3/31 Nitro:

1) Why did it open with that five-star classic between Giant & Lex vs. Rick Fuller & Roadblock? That really made me want to keep watching Nitro.

2) Why does Roadblock have a job with the most powerful wrestling organization in the U.S?

3) Why do they have a women's cruiserweight division when they hardly have a womens heavyweight division?

4) Why did those little Japanese women keep smiling during their match?

5) Why did Prince Iaukea set the chair back up on the ropes when it was falling? Does he enjoy getting chairs kicked in his face?

6) Why did Chris Jericho do his guard rail lean near a bunch of guys?

7) Why did Renegade run in the ring if he wasn't going to save or attack Jericho?

8) Why is WCW creating an angle involving Renegade?

9) Why didn't they bring in Beulah instead of Debbie Combs? She looks a lot better and is as good a wrestler

10) Why does Madusa think Akira Hokuto's name is Hokuto Akita?

11) Why did Lance Ringo spray paint NWO over Kimberly's picture?

12) Why is Nitro so bad?

Kevin Lyons

Fairbanks, Alaska

DM: 1) Lex always draws good ratings and it's important to get the jump in the first segment; 2) He's a really huge guy who can go up for the rack and that makes Luger look impressive; 3) Beats me; 4) Because just before the match started they both found out that Sonny Onno wasn't going to manage either of them; 5) He had been studying tapes of Rob Van Dam's opponents from ECW. He figured then a whole bunch of guys would then rave it was the greatest match of all-time; 6) He doesn't cheat on his girlfriend; 7) He got lost on the way to the strip club; 8) Because they want to get the last laugh on all of us dummies that don't know the first thing about the business who laughed at their booking when they kept putting him over Steve Austin and Arn Anderson, to show us that of the three, he'll still wind up being a bigger star long-term; 9) Okay, I agree that Beulah looks better but not that she's as good a wrestler. I hope you don't confuse looks with workrate in real life like that. Sometimes I do and all it does it get me into trouble; 10) Madusa is secretly dyslexic. It's no big deal in wrestling but it has its problems in real life. A few months back a guy told Madusa in a bar he thought her butt was too small and next thing you know... Anyway, she calls her Akita because Madusa is fluent in Japanese and she knows that rib about Hokuto saying old lady bitch in the camera so she was trying to do the same thing telling people cryptically that Hokuto is a dog. Then again, has anyone ever given Beulah an engagement ring after the first date?; 11) What do you expect from a guy who can't decide whether he's copying Lance Von Erich or Ringo Starr? 12) Because Kevin Sullivan books angles that make perfect sense, and then at 7:45 p.m. 39 different guys say they don't want to do things that way and they all do what they want to do and say what they want to say with no regard to how it affects the overall storyline or builds up the next PPV, and what we see each week is the result. And maybe Kevin's angles may not have made perfect sense either.
[Image: jx9SHdi.png]


- ECW's first ever PPV, Barely Legal, is in the books. 53-year-old Terry Funk stole the show with a great performance and history making title win. Dave says the show wasn't perfect but it has to be considered a major success by ECW. It's believed that the show was probably a money loser financially, due to it not being carried by one of the two major carriers as well as other smaller carriers. Paul Heyman was telling people before the show that it probably wouldn't make any money and the goal was to put on the best show possible and hope that the other carriers would get onboard with a 2nd PPV in the future. Heyman has meetings lined up with Viewers Choice and Cablevision, both of whom didn't carry this show, but may carry future events. ECW announced a second PPV in August which they said would take place in a larger venue in a new city.

- Joey Styles handled almost the entire show on commentary by himself and was pretty much great the whole time, getting over all the major key points, all the wrestlers for first time viewers, and even managed to help explain all the Japanese wrestlers better than anyone else does when foreigners show up in WWF or WCW. The camerawork and audio was a little shoddy at points and some of the wrestlers were clearly nervous. There were no F-words, as promised to RequestTV (except from the crowd), and the blood wasn't gratuitous or used in every match. Overall, Dave says it was a better show than most WWF and WCW PPVs. The show drew a sellout crowd of 1,250 to the ECW Arena (which was given a new paint job and they had a nice pretty new ring). They also did a record gate of over $60,000 and set a new merch record also.

- Other notes from the show: JT Smith returned to work a dark match and got a surprisingly huge pop from the crowd. Bubba Ray Dudley suffered a broken ankle in the first match and was hospitalized after the show and will be fitted for a cast later this week. The crowd chanted "You sold out!" at Rob Van Dam since it's believed he's headed for WCW. At one point during the Van Dam/Lance Storm match, Van Dam pushed aside wrestling journalist Bill Apter outside the ring. After the match, Van Dam cut a promo saying he was insulted that he was chosen as a fill-in for the injured Chris Candido, which is true. Van Dam didn't want to work the show because he was pissed that he wasn't included in the original plans to begin with. He then hinted about going elsewhere, to play off the WCW-heat. The 6-man Michinoku Pro match was one of the best matches of the year. During this match, Joey Styles actually mentioned Dave Meltzer on commentary ("and didn't even set a bonfire to burn an Observer" Dave adds). Shane Douglas cut his usual promo, calling out guys like Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels. Then he had a match with Pit Bull #2 that was so bad that Flair and Michaels could have done better "blindfolded with a crippling fever." Sabu vs. Taz was stiff as hell and both guys left banged up but the match seemed disappointing and didn't get over as well as you'd expect with the crowd after a year-long build. The handshake after was met with huge boos and the double-turn afterward was a huge mess. Also, contrary to what some people have said, the double-turn was planned before the Hart/Austin double-turn at Wrestlemania so this wasn't ECW copying WWF. Dave says he doesn't know where the drunk-gimmick with Sandman begins and ends because he seems to live the character 24/7 and worries about someone getting hurt if Sandman ever goes into the ring drunk. During the ladder match, the ladder accidentally flew into the crowd which was one of the things some of the PPV carriers were nervous about (fans getting hurt due to the wild nature of the show) but luckily no one was hurt. Tod Gordon could be seen frantically checking on people in the crowd after. Big Dick Dudley returned, saying he was out of prison (which is true, that's where he's been the last few months). The ending of the main event was botched due to the bell ringing earlier than it was meant to but the crowd was so hype that it didn't matter.

- And finally, one last pretty famous note from Barely Legal: literally only 24 seconds after the show went off the air, the generator blew and all the power for the television cameras went out. If it had happened just minutes earlier, it would have destroyed the end of the PPV. Talk about lucky timing.

- Judo star Naoya Ogawa debuted for NJPW and the debut is being hailed as a major success. Ogawa replaced Ken Shamrock as the opponent for Shinya Hashimoto at the Tokyo Dome last week. The show had a ton of mainstream publicity leading up to it and drew 60,500 which was better than NJPW expected and makes it the 2nd highest grossing show of the year, behind the Jan. 4th Tokyo Dome show. After a disputed finish that Ogawa seemingly won, a rematch was set for the Osaka Dome next month, this time with the IWGP title on the line. It's not known if Ogawa will win the title or not, but the original plan with Ken Shamrock was for him to win the title at the Osaka show.

- Dave says that Battlecade Extreme Fighting (the MMA promotion often confused with ECW by clueless politicians) have announced they are folding. They were pretty much a victim of the political landscape with people trying to ban the sport and with the PPV carriers declining to carry the fledgling promotions' events.

- NFL Hall of Famer Reggie White has signed on to appear at WCW Slamboree next month to face Steve McMichael. The negotiations had been ongoing since January after NFL player and part-time wrestler Kevin Greene suggested it. No word on what he's being paid, but White had been asking for $500,000 at one point. The story made national news in all the sports outlets. White is reportedly a long time wrestling fan, dating back to the old NWA days.

- Nitro in Philadelphia (the night after the ECW PPV) drew the 2nd largest crowd (16,256) and gate ($219,816) in WCW history and set an all-time merch record as well ($143,000). The Nitro scheduled for June in Boston is expected to break all of those records also, with early ticket sales already doing huge numbers. Aside from WCW being the hot promotion, Dave says they deserve credit for doing great local promotion in all these cities where house show business is booming. Their local promotion is handled by a company owned by Zane Bresloff and Dave says that aside from Hogan, Bresloff has been more important than just about anyone in WCW when it comes to the turn around in house show business.

- Hulk Hogan did a rare clean job to Jacques Rougeau at WCW's show in Montreal. Rougeau was the promoter of the show and was expected to be the hometown hero, but the crowd was actually split between he and Hogan. It was a non-title match and Rougeau pinned Hogan clean with a small package which sets up a return match the next time they come through Montreal. It was Hogan's first totally clean pinfall loss since losing the WWF title to Ultimate Warrior at WM6 in 1990.

- Eddie Guerrero was the winner of last year's NJPW Top of the Super Juniors tournament (as Black Tiger) but he won't be able to work it this year due to a torn pec injury.

- Jake Roberts made his first wrestling appearance since being fired from WWF, showing up in AAA to do a run-in.

- Abdullah the Butcher is scheduled for some upcoming shows for WAR in Japan and Dave notes that Abdullah, at 61 years old, is probably the oldest active wrestler in the world. I feel like that's gotta be wrong. Maybe he means full-time active? I dunno.

- Lots of behind the scenes turmoil in USWA. Mike Samples has quit as booker and will be replaced by Dutch Mantell. Word is Samples wanted to stop booking Bill Dundee because he feels Dundee, at 57, is too old. But Jerry Lawler disagreed and overruled him, which led to Samples quitting. Also, Larry Burton, the guy who has been running the business end of USWA (and has clashed with pretty much everyone in the company) is reportedly planning to leave as well (nah Burton ain't going anywhere. He sticks around to the bitter, messy end).

- The night before the ECW PPV, they held a banquet in honor of Terry Funk and everyone says it was an overwhelmingly positive experience. Funk brought his entire family in for the event and was in tears for most of it. Many ECW wrestlers and personalities gave speeches. Among the highlights was Beulah, who talked about her father being near death from cancer and then started crying and saying that she wants Funk to walk her down the aisle if she ever gets married (here's the whole thing, it's 2 and a half hours long and yeah it's a tearjerker from start to finish. Paul Heyman gives a 30 minute speech and it's as great as you'd expect).

- Dan Severn was backstage at the ECW PPV and talked with Paul Heyman about possibly coming in, likely to work an angle with Taz. Given that Severn is the NWA champion and considering ECW's history with the NWA, you can imagine how well that would go over with them. In fact, Severn was asked to drop the NWA title to Dory Funk the night before the ECW show but he refused because they asked him at the last minute. NWA is reportedly anxious to get the title off him since there are rumors of him going to either ECW or WWF.

- WCW referee Nick Patrick, Dean Malenko, Rocco Rock, and one of the members of Harlem Heat (Dave doesn't say who) showed up at the ECW Arena about half an hour before the PPV started (they were in town for the Nitro the next day). Many in the ECW dressing room were ready to go out and start a fight with them, but Heyman calmed everyone down. After the PPV ended, Kevin Sullivan, Hugh Morris, and Dave Penzer also showed up to hang out and were cordial with everyone.

- Dennis Coraluzzo ran a second Eddie Gilbert memorial show this week and drew over 1,000 fans. He managed to get Jim Cornette, Flash Funk, and Goldust from WWF along with several other big indie names and former WWF stars. A local wrestler named Lance Diamond got rave reviews for being the best wrestler on the show (that would be Simon Diamond, later of ECW and TNA fame).

- An indie show scheduled in a high school gym in Virginia was cancelled due to complaints by the American Arab Anti-Defamation Committee. The Iron Sheik was scheduled to work the show and they were upset about the heel character he has played on TV during his career and complained. So the indie promotion agreed to take Sheik off the show. But then another group started complaining about the midget wrestlers being a negative portrayal and wanted them removed from the show as well. Finally, the school where the show was being held just pulled the plug on the whole thing.

- Former ECW valet Kimona Wanalaya debuted in WCW in a dark match at the Nitro tapings. The match will be aired later on one of the syndicated weekend shows. She was the manager of a jobber tag team called The Extreme. No word on what her WCW name will be (seems this may have just been a one-off appearance. Far as I can tell, she never actually signed with WCW for real until 1999).

- More drama in WCW among all the usual suspects. This gets a little convoluted so bear with me. Earlier in the week, Eric Bischoff, Kevin Nash, Ric Flair, and Roddy Piper got together to discuss the plans for the Slamboree main event. The face team is Flair, Piper, and Kevin Greene vs. Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and......? Hogan doesn't want to work the show so it won't be him. Nash and Hall said they wanted Syxx to be their partner but Flair and Piper don't want Syxx in the match because they feel he's not a big enough name to main event a show in a match with a famous NFL player involved that will get mainstream media coverage. Kevin Nash argued that, given the "talent" in the match, Syxx would be the only one capable of actually making it a watchable match and he basically insulted Flair and Piper to their faces about their age and even called Flair a comedy act. There's also heat between Nash and Piper because Nash apparently didn't sell for Piper during their Uncensored PPV match. Basically, the old guys feel like the young guys don't respect the legends and the young guys feel like the legends don't respect the new generation. Anyway, on Nitro, Piper and Flair cut a promo vaguely alluding to all this and rambling about their history in the business and about respecting the veterans and all that. Dave says that unless you're a hardcore insider fan, most people probably can't even make sense of all the promos in WCW these days. Dave criticizes Flair and Piper and said that 2.8 million people were tuned in during that interview, but they cut that promo for 1 person: Kevin Nash, who was probably laughing through the whole thing. In fact, he says a lot of people backstage in WCW were probably laughing because it just made Flair and Piper look insecure. Anyway, they still haven't figured out who the 3rd NWO member will be in the match, so for now, they just announced it as "The NWO" instead of naming 3 people (it does end up being Syxx. So chalk one up for Nash).

- Latest on the proposed WCW Thursday night show is that it may not happen after all. There have been no arenas booked for Thursday tapings and they would have to be booked months in advance if it was going to happen. "TBS offered big money for the show, but apparently common sense may win out after all since it'll destroy the personal lives of most of the office and a lot of the wrestlers, not to mention possibly dilute the winning Monday night formula," Dave says. Yeah, common sense wins out.....for now. In his book, Eric Bischoff basically says Thunder was the beginning of the end because he didn't want to do the show but was pretty much forced to. He says it overworked him and everyone else and he hated it.

- In the WWF vs. WCW lawsuit about the hotline that has been mentioned off and on, the judge ruled that Mark Madden is a journalist and thus wasn't required to reveal his sources about...whatever it was he said on the hotline. I don't even remember anymore. Madden was also recently suspended by WCW for a week for using the phrase "Say hello to the bad guy" on the hotline, which led to WWF lawyer Jerry McDevitt sending another threatening letter to WCW.

- Scott Hall is expected to return any day now after being out the last month or so dealing with personal issues.

- WCW is really trying to get Kevin Sullivan out of the ring to retire. Nearly a year ago, Eric Bischoff told Sullivan that when his feud with Chris Benoit runs its course, he's done in the ring. So Sullivan (who is the booker) has done a masterful job of keeping his storyline with Benoit going for about a year now and to give credit where it's due, it has been an extremely popular angle that has launched Benoit into a legit star. But WCW is really putting the pressure on Sullivan to wrap it up and be done in the ring now.

- A few weeks back, Paul Heyman held a meeting with the ECW locker room telling them that if anyone went to WCW's Nitro when it came to Philadelphia to not ever speak to him again because that person would be dead to Heyman. Well, the only ECW person who went to Nitro was Bill Alfonso so read into it what you may (Alfonso later denies he was there).

- Raw sucked this week and was taped from an outdoor stadium in South Africa (with a few pre-taped American arena matches included also). The main event of Crush vs. Ahmed Johnson was a worst match of the year candidate. "They did nothing and were missing everything."

- The highest ranking non-McMahon in WWF resigned this week. Neville Meyer was hired back in September and was made co-CEO (along with Linda McMahon). His vague job description was "taking the business to a new level" but nothing ever really changed with his hiring and his leaving didn't seem to cause much of a stir.

- Sid reportedly has a herniated disc in his back from a weightlifting injury, but there's a lot of skepticism. For one, it's Sid and well, it's softball season. And secondly, there's a lot of concern about people following "the Shawn Michaels lead" (aka faking an injury so they don't have to put over Bret Hart). Sid was scheduled to put over Hart at the upcoming PPV but the match has been changed to a Hart vs. Austin rematch.

- Tiger Ali Singh (son of legend Tiger Jeet Singh) debuted on WWF's Kuwait tour and won the Kutaiti Cup tournament. But word is he was really green and out of shape and so despite getting a huge push on the tour, WWF has no plans to use him in the U.S. right now.

- WWF is claiming that they haven't changed their blood policy and that Steve Austin decided to violate company policy at Wrestlemania. Nobody's really buying it though.

- As for the poor buyrate of Wrestlemania, WWF officials are blaming it on the Shawn Michaels "injury." Basically, they had spent about a year slowly building up to a Michaels/Hart rematch and then, a month before the show, Michaels lost his smile and went home, leaving the company scrambling without the marquee match they had built up to.

- The Michinoku Pro wrestlers who wrestled at the ECW PPV have a meeting scheduled with WWF this week in Connecticut.

- WWF has had no talks with Disco Inferno, despite what he is apparently telling people.

- At a TV conference in Canada, some filmmakers were shopping around plans for a documentary about Bret Hart (this would, of course, become Wrestling With Shadows and, well, it becomes pretty important).

- WWF has had discussions with UFC fighters Don Frye and Scott Ferrozzo but they've led nowhere.

- A guy named Paul Guay writes in and says he was the co-writer of the movie Liar Liar and said he appreciated Dave referencing the movie in a recent issue. He says the kid who played Jim Carrey's son in the movie is a huge wrestling fan. There was a scene filmed for the movie featuring Sting and The Giant that didn't make the cut, but he describes the scene. It would have taken place early in the movie. Jim Carrey takes his son to a wrestling show but he works on legal briefings instead of enjoying the show with his son. Unfortunately the scene was cut from the movie, but the writer says Sting was super professional and The Giant was hilarious and was goofing around between takes and mooning people.
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WCW Thunder is the greatest show in the history of wrestling. How dare anyone badmouth it. That episode where Nash and DDP talk about scott hall while staring at a light and every mention of Hall was bleeped out was golden.
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- Vader got himself into some trouble in Kuwait this week in a situation very similar to the 1984 incident where wrestler David Schultz slapped reporter John Stossel. Vader was appearing on a TV show called Good Morning Kuwait (along with The Undertaker) when he got into an altercation with the host. Vader and Undertaker were appearing on the live morning show and had been told in advance what the questions would be, including being asked if wrestling was fake. The producer of the show told the wrestlers to "ham it up." When asked if wrestling was fake, Undertaker gave the usual answer; it's entertainment but with real athletes and real injuries, yada yada. Then Vader chimed in and grabbed the host by the tie and went on a tirade about the question being "bullshit" and roughed up the terrified host. Police were called immediately and Vader was arrested for assault and "lascivious conduct" because it's illegal to swear on TV in Kuwait.

- Vader was immediately placed under house arrest at his hotel after the incident on April 11th and remained there until April 22nd, when he had a court hearing and was released to return to the U.S. There's been a lot of speculation that it was a publicity stunt because WWF immediately began airing footage of the incident on TV, made Vince McMahon available for interviews, and sent out press releases about it after the fact. Eric Bischoff has also publicly come out to claim it was a hoax. The incident made headlines everywhere. USA Today was working on a big story about it but when they learned that it may have been a stunt, they squashed the story. Whether it was real or not, everyone in the WWF locker room sure believed it to be real. Vader being detained in Kuwait for so long also made WWF have to alter their storyline plans for the recent Raw and upcoming PPV. Dave's belief is that the incident and the arrest were indeed real, but WWF decided to use it to try to get as much mainstream publicity as they could out of it. McMahon claims that the host had offered to drop the charges if WWF paid him a $35,000 settlement and McMahon was willing to do so, but then the host stopped returning calls and seemed to vanish. Complicating all this even more, it occured during Ramadan, which is the Muslim country's holiest time and much of the legal system is shut down for the month.

- One final note, there was another incident with Vader in Kuwait at the hotel while he was still detained, on April 21st. No word on what it was, but it led to 20 police officers, several U.S. Embassy officials, and Vader's lawyer all having to calm him down. Vader also reportedly had an incident with a flight attendant on the original flight to Kuwait as well. Shit man, Vader was out of control on that trip.

- AJPW's Champion Carnival tournament ended with a triangle match between Toshiaki Kawada, Kenta Kobashi, and Mitsuharu Misawa. It's notable because it's only the 2nd gimmick match ever in the history of the promotion (the other was a Texas Death Match between Fritz Von Erich and Giant Baba, way back in 1974). Kawada won the match and the tournament which is also notable because it's the first time Kawada has ever pinned Misawa

- Atsushi Onita held a press conference in Japan announcing a working relationship between FMW and WWF that should lead to a major show in Japan later this year. Full details aren't known yet but Onita has apparently had talks with Vince McMahon and Bruce Prichard and is coming to the U.S. next month to meet with them in person. He may also be meeting with Paul Heyman while he's there as well to possibly get ECW involved.

- Jim Ross and Bruce Prichard also met with several wrestlers from Michinoku Pro (who recently worked ECW's PPV) and are hoping to bring them in. WWF is planning to start a lightweight/cruiserweight division soon and are trying to get wrestlers who will fit that mold. If WWF and Michinoku Pro work out a deal, it would probably be the end of the WWF/AAA relationship. Apparently, AAA is so disorganized that WWF has been having problems getting the wrestlers they want on the dates they want, which makes it impossible to give them any kind of push or storyline.

- The ECW PPV seems to have done a better buyrate than expected. Dave starts breaking down all the confusing numbers of how many homes have PPV available, what the percentages and figures mean, how some didn't carry the PPV so that changes things, etc. etc. Point being, it looks to have done over 50,000 buys which would mean it made over $400,000. Which means it was actually a profitable show. Paul Heyman had openly admitted that he expected to lose money and their break-even point was 40,000 buys so if they did over 50,000 and made a pretty decent profit, that's obviously great news for them. Other numbers from the show were 1,170 in attendance for a gate of around $70,000 which was also an all-time record for ECW. All in all, this makes it pretty much a certainty that they will have a 2nd PPV and that it will likely be carried by all the other outlets who refused to carry the first one. Furthermore, the PPV was a critical success as well, getting lots of praise from wrestling fans. By pretty much every standard, ECW's first PPV has to be considered a home run.

- WWF managed to turn a major negative into a positive on Raw this week. The episode featured one long angle with Steve Austin injuring Bret Hart in one of the best episodes in Raw history. The angle was a last minute decision because Bret Hart has a knee injury that is going to require surgery, which couldn't have come at a worse time. Hart suffered the injury on the Kuwait tour and will undergo arthroscopic surgery this week in Canada and, while he's out, will also have surgery on his right wrist (from an injury where the wrist was broken several years ago but never healed properly). Hart is expected to be out 6-8 weeks. Hart was expected to face Rocky Maivia at the King of the Ring PPV and likely win the IC title, but it's unknown if he will be back by then so that plan is scrapped. Hart was also booked to main event all the house shows for the next several weeks. The night before the angle on Raw, Hart was booked to face Austin at In Your House and decided to work the match despite the injury as well as worked the angle on Raw where Austin brutalized his knee and wrist with a chair. The angle was good enough that it seemed to make a dent in WCW's ratings dominance. They still won the night, but WWF kept it closer than normal throughout the show.

- Speaking of the In Your House PPV, it happened and was mostly forgettable and marred by bad finishes. Billy Gunn, renamed Rockabilly, was revealed as Honky Tonk Man's mystery protege, which went over about as well as a church fart. Mankind vs. Undertaker featured a great spot with Mankind going headfirst through a table, followed by a bad blown spot where Mankind tried to throw fire in Undertaker's face but the flash paper wouldn't light. And the Bret vs. Austin main event was good but not up to the level as their other matches, probably because Bret was working injured.

- Sean Morley, wrestling as Steele, (and later as Val Venis) won the EMLL heavyweight title this week. Dave finally saw this guy work and says he has a great physique and has a lot of potential as a worker and athlete, but he's still really green. But he does do a great splash from the top (the money shot!)

- AAA held a show and one of the matches featured Jake Roberts. Word is he looked 100 years old and was blown up within minutes and was just terrible (yeah, this is kind of a dark period for Jake. We're not too far away from him smoking crack in Beyond The Mat).

- All Japan is continuing to honor the referee who recently retired after 32 years. They started selling t-shirts of the referee and also held a retirement ceremony which featured an appearance by Akebono, the sumo wrestler who is arguably one of the top sports celebrities in Japan.

- Tiger Jeet Singh has been telling people that his son Tiger Ali Signh's deal with WWF is a 14-year contract. Dave doesn't know if that's true, but it sounds insane so he doubts it.

- Dutch Mantel is now booking USWA. Paid attendance for the last Memphis show was 210 people.

- WCW attempted to basically raid ECW this week by offering deals to many of ECW's major stars. Paul Heyman responded by signing new deals with or extending contracts for Shane Douglas, Francine, The Eliminators, Sabu, Taz, Joey Styles, The Dudleys, Stevie Richards, and Tommy Dreamer all within the last few days and is also trying to lock in Sandman, the Pit Bulls, and Chris Candido. In particular, WCW has offered Raven a 3-year deal worth six-figures per year to come to WCW and possibly be part of the NWO. Raven has a meeting with Paul Heyman this week to discuss it with him. WCW wants Raven immediately, but he's still under contract to ECW through August and has a 90-day non-compete after that so Raven wouldn't be able to go to WCW until October at the earliest. If Raven does decide to leave, Heyman will likely insist that he finally put over Tommy Dreaamer on the way out (Dreamer has never beaten Raven). Heyman's looking into legal action, claiming that WCW is tampering with ECW contracts. Heyman has also had his lawyers look into the WCW jobber tag team "The Extreme Team", claiming they've got a copyright claim on the phrase.

- Sign Guy Dudley has quit ECW because he got a new real-life job that no longer works with the ECW schedule.

- It's not yet known for sure if Rob Van Dam is leaving. He's agreed to stay through mid-June and Sabu is trying to talk Paul Heyman into offering Van Dam more money to keep him.

- Other notes from ECW's Barely Legal: Brian Lee was originally supposed to take the bump that Big Dick Dudley took, but with Brian Lee suffering from a neck injury, they decided not to risk it. Terry Funk plans to wrestle through the end of the year before maybe retiring (lol). Rick Rude will continue to be part of angles but no word on wrestling a match. The Dudleys were expected to regain the tag titles just a couple of weeks after the PPV but that has been changed due to Bubba Ray's ankle injury.

- Bill Alfonso is denying rumors that he was at the WCW Nitro in Philadelphia.

- Louie Spicolli is doing a gimmick where he does the NWO/Kliq hand signal all the time. At live shows, Tommy Dreamer has been running in and stomping on his hand to stop him. That gimmick is too sweet.

- Arn Anderson had neck surgery this week and there were some complications. At one point he had fluid in his lungs and the incision in his neck was a foot long. His discs and vertebrae were in better shape than expected but the problem was to the side of that and they had to cut through a lot of muscle to get to it. The talk over the last week is that Anderson is in rough shape and may never wrestle again. He was released after a week in the hospital (where he was in terrible pain the whole time) and is back up and walking but will need a significant recovery time. No one knows for sure how long and if or when he'll ever be able to return to the ring (he didn't).

- On Nitro, Kevin Nash and Syxx cut a response promo to the Flair/Piper promo from last week, basically shitting on guys from that older generation for holding back young talent and things like that. Dave says it was one hell of a promo. Speaking of last week's Flair/Piper promo, it was only scheduled to go 3 minutes but it went way longer than that "because they couldn't stop making no sense." Everyone backstage was banging their heads against the wall in frustration, wishing they'd shut up and wrap up the segment.

- Word is Kimona probably won't be hired by WCW after making a dark match appearance last week because they already have enough valet women who can't wrestle.

- The WCW women's cruiserweight title tournament ended. Did you know it was even happening? The final match of the tournament was held as a dark match before Nitro and the title was won by Toshie Uematsu. It hasn't been acknowledged at all on TV since and the idea seems to already be dead in the water (The match ended up airing on Main Event).

- On Raw, Ken Shamrock cut a promo challenging Mike Tyson. Dave says don't hold your breath for that one.

- They also showed Goldust and Marlena out of their wrestling gimmicks and were referred to on commentary as Dustin and Terri. WWF is trying to get him over as Dustin Rhodes because the Goldust gimmick isn't getting over like they want it to anymore. The idea is to eventually have Goldust and Marlena against Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna in some mixed tag matches. Starting probably next week, they plan to air an interview with Goldust that will probably greatly alter the Goldust gimmick or possibly scrap it entirely and admit that he's Dusty Rhodes' son and try to find a kayfabe way to explain why he did the Goldust gimmick.

- WWF Injury Report: The Sultan was hospitalized with fractured ribs after Ahmed Johnson hit him too hard with a 2x4. Henry Godwinn suffered compressed vertebrae in his neck and was hospitalized. And Brian Pillman was in a lot of pain after his recent angle with Steve Austin because it was the most physical activity he has done on his ankle in a long time and he's not 100% healthy yet.

- The current plan for the King of the Ring finals is Undertaker vs. Ahmed Johnson, but that's so far out that it can and most likely will change before then.
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I schedule my lunch around these, about to be too late for one.
Haha sorry I've been outta town the last 2 days. Should resume tomorrow.
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- As Dave periodically does when it's a slow news week, he decides to look at the business numbers of the 4 major promotions (WWF, WCW, NJPW, and AJPW). We're looking at the first quarter of 1997 so far. As always, this is really detailed number crunching stuff and would probably bore most people so I'll just sum it up as quick as possible. Anyway, the biggest takeaway is that there seems to be no major correlation between house show numbers and TV ratings. For example, WCW is obviously kicking WWF's ass in TV ratings, but WWF is still leading in house show business. People might prefer to watch WCW on TV but when it comes to paying for the product they want to see live, people still choose WWF. As far as PPV business goes, WWF numbers are getting scary. PPV buyrates are down 34% from last year. But the same sorta applies to WCW as well. Their PPV numbers have slightly increased from last year, but they're still way below 1995 numbers, which would probably surprise most people who assume that WCW is doing their best business ever due to the NWO angle. But in reality, aside from TV ratings, the other numbers don't back it up. And even the TV ratings tell a bit of a lie. WCW's first quarter TV ratings are actually down 6% from the same period last year. But WWF's numbers are down 29% so it makes it look like WCW is doing way better than they were, when in reality, they're only winning because the ratings haven't dropped as much as WWF's did. To sum it up, PPV buyrates are still where the money is and WCW is still doing strong there and WWF is getting killed.

- As for NJPW and AJPW numbers, NJPW's TV ratings have increased a little but attendance has declined slightly. But they're still doing strong numbers in both departments, so nothing to fear. As for AJPW, attendance is up slightly and they're drawing great ratings despite a stale product and a horrible time slot. Their TV ratings are up 31% from last year and a whopping 70% from 1995. So TL;DR - business in Japan is booming.

- Vader returned to the United States last week after spending 10 days in Kuwait on house arrest while awaiting a court hearing. Vader faces charges of "public aggression and public humiliation" from the incident on the TV show. And he also faces charges of drunk and disorderly conduct from the incident at the hotel where cops were called and he had to be settled down. All told, Vader faces up to a year in prison, but WWF is confident that he will only get a fine. WWF attempted to turn it into a storyline, holding a press conference with Vader, in character, saying he wasn't going to apologize. They also filmed an angle on Raw with Jim Ross where he also posed the fake wrestling question and Vader roughed him up a bit.

- Bret Hart underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in Calgary last week but didn't get the planned wrist surgery. Hart suffered a broken wrist several years ago that never healed properly and has bone fragments that need to be cleaned up, but he was told he would be out for at least 3 months and that it would be more susceptible to a future break. Because of that, Hart decided against getting the surgery until after he retires (fun fact: Bret finally ended up getting that surgery....in 2016). With only the knee to worry about, Bret is expected to return in time for the King of the Ring PPV. The current plan for that event is for Hart to face Shawn Michaels in their long-awaited rematch. Hart appeared on Raw in a wheelchair and they also added Jim Neidhart to the Hart Foundation. In fact, the addition of Neidhart may have been a last-minute emergency idea because the Hart Foundation has been booked in several six-man tag matches that are supposed to main event house shows for the next several weeks. But with Hart injured, that only leaves Owen Hart, British Bulldog, and Brian Pillman. And there's questions about how ready Pillman will be since he's still dealing with a lot of pain in his ankle. So Neidhart was likely brought in and added to the group to fulfill all the 6-man tag bookings.

- Tommy Rich and Doug Gilbert spent a night in prison on 4/20 for possession of marijuana (how fitting) along with taking money under false pretenses. Basically, they were booked to headline an indie show for $250 each. When they arrived, they asked to be paid up front, took their money, and left. When they were eventually caught a few cities over, they were arrested and the cops found the weed. Unable to post bond, they spent the night in jail until they were released the next day.

- A caller on the Howard Stern show called in saying he was an indie wrestler from New Jersey and talked about how he fantasized about being a serial killer and bragged about beating up prostitutes. Stern apparently took the call seriously and kept him on the phone and began grilling him with questions so he could have info on the guy to give to the police. The guy gave enough accurate information about the indie wrestling scene that the average person wouldn't know, so it seems likely that he really is involved in the business. He also claimed at one point that he is friends with Mankind, who he referred to by his real name. The call ended with Stern asking him not to kill anyone, at least through the weekend. Overall, it was really creepy (we get closure on this in a week or two).

- AAA announced several WWF stars are scheduled to appear at one of the upcoming Triplemania shows. Mankind, Vader, Goldust, and Bret Hart were all announced to appear. Dave says it's unlikely though because Bret Hart will still be out injured by then. As for the other 3 guys, they're already booked on WWF house shows on the nights of the first 2 Triplemania shows. No word if there's a 3rd Triplemania show booked (there wasn't, and none of those guys appeared in AAA).

- In AAA, Blue Demon Jr. has changed his outfit from the traditional Blue Demon attire to something more futuristic looking. The reason is because, in comic books, Batman and Superman have changed to more futuristic costumes, so they figure it's time for Blue Demon Jr. to have a more modern look also.

- Tony Halme (formerly Ludvig Borga in WWF) will be fighting in the next UFC event.

- Larry Burton is still the general manager of USWA, despite reports last week that he may be stepping down.

- Raven has informed Paul Heyman that he is accepting a deal to sign with WCW. Raven agreed to a 3-year deal, worth $225,000 per year. Given that he was offered pretty big money and because DDP and Kevin Nash both pushed for him, he'll be protected politically and won't be turned into jobber fodder like a lot of other indie guys WCW signs. WCW wanted him to start at the next PPV, but his ECW contract doesn't let him do it yet. Paul Heyman is trying to work out a deal with Eric Bischoff where ECW will receive some compensation from WCW because WCW used a tag team called The Extreme Team and because they used Kimona's ECW name during her recent WCW appearance. In exchange, Heyman would let Raven out of his contract early (this gets messy soon).

- On the flip side, it seems like Rob Van Dam leaving may not be happening after all and has turned into an angle. At one point, it seemed like him going to WCW was a done-deal but not anymore. Van Dam is now doing a gimmick where he claims he wants to work Monday nights for one of the other promotions and it has turned him into one of the top heels in ECW, calling himself Mr. Monday Night. Dave thinks ECW and WWF should use their working agreement to let RVD appear on Raw at some point to help get his gimmick over.

- The Gangstas didn't work ECW's recent show in Revere, MA because it's the city where the Mass Transit incident happened and since the case hasn't been resolved, Heyman isn't booking them there. It's also a bit of a lingering punishment on New Jack for getting the company in so much trouble. There have been a lot of rumors of The Gangstas heading to WCW but Dave hasn't heard anything official from anyone.

- Bill Alfonso was not at the WCW Nitro taping in Philadelphia, but he did talk with several WCW wrestlers at the hotel after the show. That was misinterpreted as Alfonso being at the show, which would be a big deal since Heyman said he'd fire anyone who went.

- Sabu is getting married next month.

- WCW aired footage from 1993 of Ric Flair beating Vader. Part of the reason is to get Flair over for his upcoming match against Kevin Nash and show him beating big guys, but the main reason was they wanted to stick it to Vader because he's gotten so much publicity for WWF this week. Dave says there's a lot of deep animosity in WCW towards Vader, particularly from Eric Bischoff.

- The reason they're giving Meng a push against Chris Benoit is because Kevin Sullivan is finally pretty much being forced into retirement. He's still involved in the storyline but they're moving the in-ring portion of it to Benoit vs. Meng.

- Ric Flair got into some trouble for a line he said during a promo, where he said he's held more world titles than Syxx has had pieces of ass in his entire life. Dave thought it was hilarious, but WCW officials were very upset and considered suspending Flair. But since there wasn't really any negative reaction from viewers, the heat has pretty much died down. Dave doesn't think it was over the line and doesn't see what all the fuss is about.

- Rey Mysterio Jr. is reportedly considering going ahead and getting the knee surgery he needs, but he's trying to put it off as long as he can. As of now, he may be getting it near the end of June.

- Yuji Nagata finally debuted in WCW and everyone seemed impressed by him.

- The buildup for the upcoming Piper/Flair/Kevin Greene vs. Hall/Nash/Syxx match started out of control, with both sides cutting vague shoot promos at each other. But since then, the 2 sides have settled down and agreed to work together to make the match work. The promos still seem like shoots, but everything in them is approved by both sides ahead of time. The only restriction is that the NWO guys aren't allowed to call Flair and Piper "old."

- In WCW merchandise numbers, the Sting shirt is currently the top seller, followed by the NWO shirt and new DDP shirt. 69% of the merch sold is WCW while the other 31% is NWO.

- WWF injury update: Sid is still out with a back injury. He had an MRI done this week but no word on what the results are. Henry Godwinn suffered a neck injury in a match with Legion of Doom as he ended up landing on his head after taking the Doomsday Device bump. He has a fractured seventh cervical vertebrae and is expected to be out awhile.

- WWF was interested in bringing back Yokozuna but he's on a blood thinning medication and if he suffers a cut, it wouldn't clot and that could obviously be bad, so for now he's not cleared to be in the ring.

- Mankind's contract is due to expire soon and he hasn't signed a new deal yet.

- Someone writes in with a bunch of ridiculous questions and Dave gives a bunch of hilarious answers:

1) Is it true that if you hit a Samoan in the head it doesn't hurt and only makes them mad? 2) Why are wrestlers from parts unknown often also announced as having weight unknown? Are there no scales there? 3) Do masked wrestlers have their masks on in their drivers license photos? They wear them in the shower you now, according to Gorilla Monsoon. 4) If a wrestler holds onto a submission hold after the end of the match, why does the referee try to break it by counting? 5) After all the good work he's done for so many years, why hasn't Sgt. Slaughter been promoted? 6) Do you have to pay an import tax on a foreign object? 7) Why do they call it a turnbuckle when it doesn't turn? 8) Why can you have a Texas death match outside of Texas? What if nobody dies? 9) Why is Steve Austin a babyface? 10) Is an Indian strap match now called a Native American strap match? 11) Let's see if I get this straight. Hanging a photo of someone with their breast accidentally exposed is sexual harassment, but letting Howard Stern finger paint your tits isn't. 12) Is there anyone in wrestling, besides Pat Patterson, who Missy Hyatt hasn't been linked to? 13) The South African Truth Commission in wrestling. Isn't that an oxymoron? 14) What do they do with the metal pieces that are missing from Public Enemy's tables? Do they recycle? 15) Who is chunkier, Nancy, Sherri or Dusty?

Russ Cress
Union, New Jersey

DM: 1) From years of growing up watching Samoans wrestle that somehow has always seemed to be the case. I'm still trying to figure out why it doesn't work that way in boxing; 2) I'm not sure if they have any scales there. The few times I've been to parts unknown, the last thing I was concerned with was how much I weighed; 3) No. When I was a kid, that was actually how we'd find out the identity of the masked guys when this was really a kayfabe business. You become friends with the groupies (aka rats, but I like using the politically correct term since it's the 90s) and they get the identities for you. In those days, when the masked guys slept with the groupies, they'd never remove their masks because it was a kayfabe business, really, this is all true even though a lot of you are going to be skeptical and think I'm joking. But what they didn't know, is that after showering together, the groupies would get out first, open up their wallet, take a quick look at their license, and call me up the next morning to find out if the real name rang a bell and I'd let them know what other wrestling names the guy had used. Oh, and the guys in those days really did wear their masks in the shower, at least when they were with women, so those drivers licenses were the best way to get their identities. 4) Because that's what they teach you in referee school; 5) They've actually watched tapes of his matches; 6) Usually no, but if you try and carry them on your person and go through the metal detectors on the airplane, you're going to be asked a lot of questions; 7) Actually the connective part does turn; 8) It supposedly originated in Texas. Besides, how can you have a suicide squeeze in baseball if you blow it and the guy doesn't kill himself. Or how come you can have a sudden death period in football and everyone lives through it. Isn't that false advertising? Boy I wish every sport had a Mexican wrestling commission; 9) Because people cheer him; 10) I don't know, but midgets are now called minis. I wonder if Russian chain matches have been broken up into several different republics; 11) There's a huge difference. Whatever someone does by their own decision as long as it's legal is not sexual harassment. But if someone hangs up a photo that you didn't want taken of your exposed breast in the office that you work in, it is wrong no matter if you'd consent at another time under different circumstances to have such a photo taken; 12) Me, and also Mark Madden. There may be one or two others but that's just a rumor; 13) No more than the AWA brain trust; 14) They save them for future artificial limbs; 15) Dusty. But if I had to find out by having them all sit on me, I'd probably die three very different kinds of deaths.
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(08-31-2017, 03:33 PM)DangPlex Wrote: I schedule my lunch around these, about to be too late for one.

Lmfao....same dilemma.
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Peezy - spoil the Howard Stern caller for me.
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Here's the paragraph from tomorrow's issue, if anyone wants to know:

- The identity of the caller on the Howard Stern show who claimed to be an indie wrestler who also wanted to be a serial killer was Frank Iadevia, who is an indie promoter for Jersey All Pro Wrestling. Iadevia runs the company and also wrestles as Adorable Anthony. Turns out the call was a publicity stunt on his part, but the Stern crew didn't know about it ahead of time so there was legit concern that they were talking to a potential serial killer (Iadevia passed away in 2015. Jersey All Pro Wrestling still exists and over the years, guys like AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Kenny Omega, Jay Lethal, Low Ki, Kassius Ohno, Homicide, and dozens more have worked there and worked for Iadevia).
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[+] 1 user Likes Peezy's post

- NJPW held their first show in the new Osaka Dome and broke pretty much every pro wrestling record ever in the city of Osaka. They drew around 53,000 fans, made $4 million at the gate, and almost another million in merch. The show featured IWGP champion Shinya Hashimoto defending the title against Naoya Ogawa and also had several WCW performers, including Eric Bischoff, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Syxx, Lex Luger, The Giant, and more. NWO merch sold like crazy but the American matches didn't seem to get over with the crowd. At one point, Dave calls Luger, "the living embodiment of everything that doesn't get over in Japan." Luger also suffered an abdominal injury during the match and missed the next Nitro and probably won't wrestle for a couple of weeks. There was also a tag team match in which Antonio Inoki faced off against Jushin Liger for the first time ever but they didn't do much together before tagging out so it was a disappointment.

- FMW has had meetings with both WWF and ECW this week, to attempt to put together a big joint show in November in Japan. Antsushi Onita and several other FMW officials had a 3-hour meeting with Vince McMahon, Bruce Prichard, and Jim Ross in Stamford to discuss plans. Onita wants to have an exploding ring barbed wire match at Madison Square Garden and wants WWF to help promote it. Dave says it wouldn't draw (no one in America knows Onita enough to fill an arena) and it makes no sense for WWF to promote something like that. As of now, no deal has been reached to promote a joint show but WWF hasn't said no either. They also want to get EMLL in on the deal and a working agreement between WWF and EMLL was discussed as well. So far, the WWF/AAA relationship seems to pretty much be dead, due to disorganization on AAA's part, although AAA is still claiming they have big name WWF stars coming to Mexico soon. WCW has also had dealings with EMLL so this whole thing could get interesting politically.

- Speaking of, there's some interesting WWF/WCW drama with Michinoku Pro in Japan. The Michinoku Pro promotion has a working relationship with NJPW, who in turn has a relationship with WCW. So WCW wasn't thrilled when they saw the Michinoku Pro guys working ECW's PPV last month and they also weren't happy to hear that they had meetings with WWF. So WCW has put pressure on NJPW to get Michinoku Pro to fall in line. NJPW has since told Michinoku Pro that if any of their guys work with WWF, it will cut off their relationship with Michinoku Pro.

- WWF has started to locally promote the upcoming King of the Ring PPV in Providence, RI and in local advertisements, they've announced several matches. Most notably, the long-awaited rematch between Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart is scheduled for the show, along with Steve Austin vs. Brian Pillman (obviously neither of those happened).

- WWF beat WCW in the ratings the last 2 weeks, but only because Raw aired unopposed. Nitro had its time slot moved around due to the NBA playoffs. But for what it's worth, the same thing happened last year, but this year, the gap between the ratings was considerably smaller, with WCW still doing a strong rating despite the different time slot.

- Jake Roberts is doing some of the booking in AAA.

- AJPW star The Patriot has been having serious negotiations with WWF. It was believed he was done with All Japan and would be heading to WWF soon but he's surprisingly scheduled for the next AJPW tour (he'd be in WWF within 2 months).

- Riki Choshu and Akira Maeda are talking about doing a big match in NJPW playing off a shoot incident from 1987 that, in hindsight, totally changed the entire face of pro wrestling at the time. Back in 87, Choshu and Maeda had heat between them for some reason and they were on opposite teams in a tag match. During the match, Choshu had a hold on someone when Maeda came up and gave him a full, unprotected kick to the face as hard as he could, on purpose. Choshu suffered a broken orbital bone and was seriously injured. NJPW planned to severely punish Maeda for the incident, but instead, Maeda quit the company and formed his own shoot-style wrestling promotion called UWF, with matches that were worked but were booked and designed to look like shoots. UWF quickly became the hottest promotion in the world and paved the way for shoot-style matches that NJPW and AJPW both quickly copied. It's also what promotions like R*INGS and UWFI were based on. Pancrase and UFC took that style a few steps further and thus, modern MMA was formed. Anyway, it seems they've buried the hatchet enough to work together. Choshu and Maeda hadn't spoken since the incident until last week, when both men met face-to-face for an interview that is believed to be building up to a long-awaited one-on-one match between them.

- Terry Funk did a moonsault to the outside of the ring at an FMW show and cracked his head on the floor and suffered a concussion. Funk was hospitalized but still flew back to the U.S. and worked the next ECW show, with a huge lump on his head still showing.

- Rickson Gracie and Nobuhiro Takada are finally having their long-awaited shoot fight in a few months at a show in the Tokyo Dome (ended up being the first Pride show ever). Gracie will allegedly make $1 million for the fight. Gracie has repeatedly turned down million dollar offers to do worked matches so this will be a full shoot. Last year, Royce Gracie also turned down $1 million to do a worked match with Antonio Inoki because the Gracies refuse to take the fights unless they are 100% shoots.

- USWA has been pushing the idea of Brian Pillman coming in to challenge Jerry Lawler for the USWA title (never happened and sadly, both Pillman and USWA end up dying within weeks of each other).

- The identity of the caller on the Howard Stern show who claimed to be an indie wrestler who also wanted to be a serial killer was Frank Iadevia, who is an indie promoter for Jersey All Pro Wrestling. Iadevia runs the company and also wrestles as Adorable Anthony. Turns out the call was a publicity stunt on his part, but the Stern crew didn't know about it ahead of time so there was legit concern that they were talking to a potential serial killer (Iadevia passed away in 2015. Jersey All Pro Wrestling still exists and over the years, guys like AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Kenny Omega, Jay Lethal, Low Ki, Kassius Ohno, Homicide, and dozens more have worked there and worked for Iadevia. As for the phone call on Stern, listen for yourself. I dunno man, this guy is quick on the draw with very specific replies to certain fucked up things...)

- Despite denials on both sides, Dave keeps hearing rumors that Disco Inferno is negotiating with WWF. He still has a non-compete clause in his WCW contract and with tensions between WWF and WCW being so high right now, it's possible WWF doesn't want to risk any accusations of contract tampering, so that may be why they're denying even talking with him.

- Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman are still trying to negotiate a deal over Raven. WCW wants Raven to debut at the July PPV but Heyman wants Raven to stick around until ECW's August PPV so he can put over Tommy Dreamer. Raven is under ECW contract until October but Heyman is willing to let him out of the deal if WCW will make it worth his while. Speaking of contracts, Stevie Richards is working for ECW without a contract and could leave whenever he wants. Raven has reportedly talked to WCW about bringing Richards in with him, but there's no word either way on that.

- It seems the Rob Van Dam/WCW deal isn't happening anymore and Van Dam will be staying with ECW. There is also no truth to the rumors of The Gangstas going to WCW.

- Bam Bam Bigelow joined ECW, debuting as part of a new Triple Threat faction with Shane Douglas and Chris Candido at a show in his hometown of Asbury Park, NJ.

- At another ECW show, Rick Rude picked up Francine in a piledriver position, "and began sucking her buttcheek like he was giving her a hickey there."

- Paul Heyman is talking to WWF about them letting him bring in PG-13 to feud with The Eliminators. It wouldn't be the first time, since the two teams feuded in USWA a couple of years ago when The Eliminators were still new to the business.

- WCW and WWF will be going head-to-head in Los Angeles on June 28th, with both companies running house shows in the city that night. WCW is loading up their show, billing it "Saturday Nitro" and the main event is scheduled to be Hollywood Hogan vs. Sting (nope).

- WCW "stars" (used loosely) Alex Wright and Hard Body Harrison got into a backstage fight at the Saturday Night tapings. They got into some sort of argument about the plan for their match later that night. At one point, Harrison grabbed some kind of piece of exercise equipment. Alex Wright thought Harrison was about to hit him with it, so he struck first, punching Harrison in the eye and splitting his brow open. They fought for a moment until the fight was broken up and most people thought Wright was winning, which surprised some people. Also, since Harrison is a jobber, most of the blame and punishment was put on him.

- WWF Raw was really good again this week, with multiple hot angles and great segments. Of particular note was a sit-down interview with Goldust and Marlena, out of gimmick and going by their real names. Dustin talked about developing the Goldust gimmick to get out of his father's shadow and also addressed Scott Hall not wanting to work with him. Goldust also expressed his support for the gay community (no AJ) and said he relates to what they go through after all the hateful things fans said to him. "Jeez, you make all the money you can exploiting the homophobia of people and then reverse field when there is no more money to be made," Dave says.

- Sid had an MRI done on his back and it turns out he has a lower lumbar strain and not a herniated disc, as he claimed. It's an injury that a lot of weightlifters get and it's probably not a good idea to wrestle with it, but you could still show up to TV and cut promos or work angles as needed. There's tons of guys in the locker room with more serious injuries who still work every night. But not Sid! He has refused to come to work since the injury and his future with the company is in doubt.

- Some more details have come out on the Vader incident in Kuwait. Basically, Vader had been told to ham it up and act menacing and in character. Plus, ticket sales for the tour hadn't been going well so Vader took it upon himself to sorta work an angle on live TV to try and build up some of the shows. So when asked if wrestling was fake, he knocked over the table and grabbed the host. To Vader, it was apparently a work but no one told the host or the show, and police were called. Several days later, while not being allowed to leave the country, Vader went to the U.S. Embassy and then went and had a few drinks. When he got back to the hotel, he was arrested for being drunk in public and police came to drag him away.

- At a WWF house show in Fort Wayne, Steve Austin worked against Hunter Hearst Helmsley. After the match, Austin teased it for a moment and then hit Chyna with the stone cold stunner, getting the biggest pop of the show (I believe this is the first time we had the real man-on-woman violence that eventually became a staple of the Attitude Era. At least it's the first time I've seen Dave mention it).

- Someone writes in and basically shits on Shawn Michaels for faking an injury and refusing to put over Bret Hart at Wrestlemania and says that if Shawn's contract was up, he'd betray WWF in a heartbeat and jump to WCW. He says Shawn is jealous of Bret and predicts that 10 years from now, Michaels will be in WCW putting over Hogan at Starrcade.

- And finally, someone does the gimmick where they write in with questions and snarky Dave responds:


1) Is Wallstreet back after quitting the NWO?

2) Is the WWF embarrassing themselves by even thinking of hiring Disco Inferno?

3) Is Jesse Jammes signed to a long-term deal?

4) Did I waste $9.000 on the Ultimate Warrior hotline to hear Jim Hellwig curse and talk about someone stealing his spot on the weight bench when he momentarily walked away?

5) Do I get the feeling JYD, King Kong Bundy, Mr. T and Haiti Kid are next to join the NWO?

6) Is there a wrestling PPV every week?

7) Do I not believe Lee Marshall is where he says he is during those 1-800 collect calls?

8) Why didn't I dial 1-800 collect instead of the Warrior hotline?

Vince Gagliardi

Cranford, New Jersey

DM: 1) Because nobody in WCW actually watches all their television shows. How could they? In the words of the great Ray Stevens, it would cut way too far down on drinking and women chasing time; 2) They say they aren't thinking--of hiring Disco Inferno, that is; 3) They say they aren't thinking--oh, that was the previous question, sorry; 4) After all these years you're willing to pay money just to find out if Jim Hellwig finally has something relevant to say. Do you still ave the video of Roddy Piper's current interviews also? 5) I have that nightmare sometimes as well. But then I wake up and realize it was only a dream and nothing like that happens in real life wrestling. Well, at least until the Hogan-Luger match; 6) Because there are more than 100,000 willing buyers every week; 7) Because you're being logical. It's obvious that Lee Marshall is the type of person that nobody would invite to a party; 8) Because you were afraid Lee Marshall would answer the phone and make a lousy weasel joke and you'd have to hear Mike Tenay and Tony Schiavone in the background laughing at it.
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i read these here in like 2 week chunks. keep it up!

edited to add:
Peezy, if there's any future mention of Battlecade/Extreme Fighting, please post them up. I've always assumed UFC purchased the company, but can't find any mentions of this happening.
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[+] 1 user Likes twiztor's post
Hogan was put over by HBK about 8 years later, in WWE.
In this era, UFC isn't super relevant. They aren't a real MMA promotion yet, they have a couple highlights but are far inferior to Japanese MMA at this point. It really isn't until the Zuffa purchase they start really being a major force.

But Starcade 2007 was legit.
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- In August, WWF's Monday Night Raw is expected to change time slots, moving up an hour later from 9pm-11pm (EST). The decision was made by USA because they're shuffling around time slots of a lot of the network's TV shows. The later time slot should allow WWF to be a little more risque than they have been, although word is WWF didn't have any say in the decision and didn't really want to make the change. This story is just breaking so that's basically the only news Dave has on it as of now. There's no word if WCW plans to move Nitro but Dave doubts it. He has heard WCW is considering expanding Nitro to 3 hours, with the idea that the first 2 hours would air on TNT and the last hour would air on TBS. Turner wants a wrestling show on TBS because of how successful it's been on TNT. Initially, there had been discussions of adding a new show on Thursday nights, but if they do a 3 hour show on Monday night and split it between the 2 channels instead, it would give them a highly rated prime time wrestling show on both channels without the costs of running an extra live taping each week.

- WWF's latest In Your House PPV called Cold Day In Hell is in the books and the biggest question was how Ken Shamrock would do in his in-ring debut. The answer turned out to be pretty good. He and Vader had a stiff, nearly UWF-style worked shoot match and Shamrock showed a lot of potential as a wrestler. It was surprising how good Shamrock was but Dave also says Vader was probably the best person for him to face because he's a veteran with experience in working the Japanese-style worked shoot matches and he walked Shamrock through it. Dave then relates it to the story of the infamous Tom Magee/Bret Hart match from the 80s, where Magee was a rookie who had the look and athleticism to be a top star and was carried to a great match by Bret Hart. Afterwards, everyone was proclaiming Magee as the next Hulk Hogan, but then he was exposed by everyone else he got in the ring with and eventually washed out of the business entirely. The point being, first impressions are great and all, but what comes after it is what really matters.

- Other notes from the PPV: Dave basically says WWF has a great feud on top (Austin vs. Hart Foundation) but it's getting overexposed and they have pretty much nothing else interesting going on. The WWF roster depth is lacking. Both Vince McMahon and Jim Cornette missed the show due to personal reasons. A close family friend of the McMahon family named Rose Anderson (who the McMahon kids always called Aunt Rose) passed away the night before, so Vince missed the show for that. And Jim Cornette missed it because his girlfriend was hospitalized for what they thought was appendicitis but turned out to be less serious. Flash Funk lost his match against Hunter Hearst Helmsley and then had to take a bump where Chyna picked him up. Word is Funk was less than thrilled about doing the job and about having to let Chyna beat him up after. Mankind beat Rocky Maivia in a boring match that the crowd didn't care for, other than they occasionally booed Rocky (imagine going to the bathroom or concessions during a Foley/Rock match).

- Dave covers the death of roller derby star Joan Weston. Dave occasionally mentions roller derby, which I guess is basically sorta like wrestling on skates. But this is the most I've ever seen him write about it. He talks about the history of roller derby and how it was promoted in much the same way as wrestling and was really popular in the 60s and 70s.

- Jake Roberts no-showed 2 dates in AAA. Dave says you can't really know who to blame here. Jake obviously has a pretty bad track record these days, but AAA is such a disorganized mess that it's also not uncommon for guys to not even know when and where they're booked so things like this happen. Anyway, Jake was scheduled to team with Fake Razor and Fake Diesel who, for whatever reason, are still working in AAA using those gimmicks.

- The Patriot is expected to be starting with WWF in June or July (yup), likely under a different name (nope).

- Atsushi Onita has been telling people about his recent meeting with Vince McMahon, saying that a couple of FMW wrestlers will be wrestling in WWF soon and that he's trying to put together one of his usual exploding ring matches to air on a WWF PPV. Meanwhile, FMW will be helping WWF promote a tour in Japan later this year and there are discussions of doing a big interpromotional show with WWF, FMW, ECW, Michinoku Pro, and Pancrase.

- Ultimate Warrior is reportedly booked for an indie show next week, but Dave calls bullshit on it. It's a tiny company in a building that only holds 800 people. Since Warrior always demands ridiculous money to work indie shows, Dave ain't buying it (yeah, doesn't look like that ever happened. Far as I can tell, Warrior didn't wrestle again until 98 in WCW).

- Funny note when discussing UFC, Dave refers to the UFC ring announcer Bruce "My brother is famous" Buffer.

- Rick Rude is doing a gimmick in ECW where basically everything he says is a double-entendre and it's been hilarious. Rude said he'd been hungry and talked about eating the red snapper at Francine's restaurant.

- They did an angle at the most recent ECW show where Rob Van Dam and Paul Heyman argued, which is to set up a deal where RVD is expected to appear on Raw this week, to continue playing up his gimmick of wanting to leave ECW to work Monday nights for one of the big companies.

- Lots of conflicting stories on the future of Stevie Richards. He split from the BWO at the recent show and word is he's still negotiating a contract with ECW and has at least signed a letter of intent to stay and negotiate. No word if he has any other offers. Several other ECW wrestlers have received offers from WCW, but all are pretty much locked into ECW contracts.

- WJAR news in Providence RI ran a really negative 2-part story on ECW, mostly dealing with the Mass Transit incident. The story hinted that a lawsuit is expected to be filed against ECW and included clips of the incident itself (I can't find video of this, but I did find an old message board post recapping it):


- Eric Bischoff had a meeting with all the wrestlers before Nitro and announced that Kevin Sullivan is taking a 4-8 week hiatus as booker due to burnout and other personal issues (losing his wife to Benoit, I assume) but insisted it was just a break and that Sullivan isn't being replaced as booker. Sullivan recently cut a promo on the Saturday night show talking about having a shoot fight with Benoit in a bar (which happened back in January in New Orleans and the general public that doesn't read newsletters obviously had no clue what Sullivan was talking about) and talked about how Nancy is still family to him. Overall, it was just sorta weird. In the meantime, Bischoff, JJ Dillon, and Terry Taylor will be doing the booking. During the meeting, Bischoff also talked about how the stories of backstage dissension coming out in the dirtsheets was hurting the company. Dave says Bischoff shouldn't be worried about the stories leaking out and should worry about fixing the problems.

- WCW asked Kevin Greene to turn heel and turn on Flair and Piper at their upcoming PPV match in Charlotte, but he turned it down since he's pretty beloved in Charlotte (he plays for the Carolina Panthers).

- Let's just quote this one in full: "On the 4/19 TBS Saturday show, for some reason there was no commentary during an entire Jeff Jarrett vs. Scotty Riggs match. People were saying it was the best announced match on Saturday in months." Oh Dave, you cheeky bastard.

- Akira Hokuto won the WCW women's title at Starrcade a few months ago but after Hokuto left the country recently, WCW did a phantom angle where they announced Madusa was the champion. Problem is, no one told Madusa and when she showed up at Nitro last week and they were talking about her being champion, she had no clue what they were talking about. As for Hokuto, when reports in Japan asked her about losing the title, she also didn't know because no one told her either.

- At the latest WCW tapings, a new guy named Bill Goldberg debuted. He's a former football player and showed a lot of potential considering it was his first match.

- WCW jobber Big Al (formerly 911 in ECW) is upset and has been complaining about doing nothing but jobs since he arrived in WCW because he was a crowd favorite in ECW.

- Hulk Hogan will be starring in a TV movie for TNT called Assault on Devil's Island, which also stars Carl Weathers and Shannon Tweed. It's expected to air in October.

- In Japan last week, after the Osaka Dome show and at a bar after a lot of drinks, Eric Bischofff and NJPW referee Tiger Hattori made a bet with each other that Hattori couldn't take Bischoff down. Hattori is 10-years older than Bischoff and smaller but he was a great amateur wrestler back in the 70s. Bischoff, of course, practices martial arts. Anyway, they cleared all the tables out of the way and went for it and...Bischoff won the bet. Hattori couldn't take him down.

- Curt Hennig is expected to start with WCW in June. There are still some legal issues to work out with his WWF contract and WWF is alleging contract tampering on WCW's part. WWF also claims Hennig is still under contract (which should have expired by now) because a few months ago, Hennig no-showed a PPV and WWF suspended him. Their claim is that due to his suspension, his contract was frozen until he returns from suspension. Dave hasn't seen the contract but judging what he knows about other WWF contracts, he doesn't see this holding up. WCW apparently doesn't either because they're planning to bring him in next month regardless.

- Notes from the latest Raw: Dave says the Austin/Hart storyline is overexposed and that while Austin has great delivery, his promos on Bret are getting repetative, and Hart's anti-American promos are running on too long and starting to sound like an only slightly more articulate Iron Sheik. The show ended with Bret Hart calling out Shawn Michaels and then insulting him. But Bret's promo ran on too long and the show went off the air before the climax of the angle, which was Shawn Michaels superkicking Hart (this ends up being an issue between them because Shawn felt like Bret intentionally ran long so that the show would end with Bret talking down to Shawn while he just stood there taking it). Ivan Putski debuted and didn't get over. Paul Bearer vowed to reveal a secret about Undertaker (hmmm). And they aired the second part of the Goldust interview which wasn't as good as the first.

- Rob Van Dam debuted on Raw, doing a squash match against a jobber named Jeff Hardy. RVD also cut a promo before the match running down ECW and calling himself Mr. Monday Night. The goal is to build RVD as a an outsider heel for ECW. Heyman was at the taping to make sure everything went right. There were people in the front row chanting "You sold out!" at RVD which Dave thinks is funny: fans, at a WWF show, telling a guy he sold out because they think he's joined WWF. Oh, speaking of Hardys as jobbers, Leif Cassidy won a similar squash match against Matt Hardy on the same show.

- Speaking of Leif Cassidy, he gave notice to WWF that he wants to leave when his contract is up in July. In reality, it was mostly just an attempt to leverage WWF to do something with him. They have discussed a gimmick where he would wear a luchador mask and do a gimmick as The World's Greatest Mexican Wrestler (holy shit, Al Snow almost did the El Generico gimmick first!). Cassidy doesn't have a guaranteed contract and he's only working occasional shows, so he's not making much money and is frustrated, as you'd imagine. That being said, as great as he was on the indies, Dave says he hasn't been that impressive since arriving in WWF.

- Mankind's still negotiating a new contract with WWF and word is he plans to stay. He still has a lawsuit against WCW stemming from the ear injury so that leaves ECW and FMW as his only real options and they don't pay nearly as well. So don't expect him to go anywhere.

- The Goldust interviews have led to rumors of Dusty Rhodes going to WWF, but he still has a year left on his WCW contract so it's not happening.

- Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon were originally planning to do an anti-American gimmick where they diss American fans and praise fans in other countries, but then Bret Hart did it instead. There has been talk of adding them to the Hart Foundation, similar to the way Brian Pillman is loosely affliated with the group but not entirely a member but no word if it's going to happen (nah).

- Rene Goulet, George Steele, and Jay Strongbow are all still with the company as agents but they haven't been booked for any shows lately. Ring announcer Lance Wright and wrestlers Bill Dunn and Barry Horowitz have been released.
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