Wrestling Observer Newsletter Rewind Thread • 1997
Thats too bad. Any reason you didn't go to the smaller studio shows (that you can remember)?

Also, a funny video without context. It is almost Shockmasteresque:
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Nah not really sure why I never did. It would have been just as easy.
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- Arn Anderson announced his retirement this week on Nitro due to neck injuries. Most people within WCW had assumed for months that Anderson was probably done after the major surgery he had earlier this year. Anderson received a monstrous ovation from the crowd while Flair struggled to hold back tears. Dave recaps Arn's career, talking about how he never really had the traditional wrestler look, especially for someone who's prime was in the 80s, but he managed to get over everywhere he went through charisma, ability, and hard work. Covers his career with the Four Horsemen, his short stint in WWF, the stabbing incident with Sid, etc. Dave says people in WCW have known for awhile that his in-ring career was over and have thrown out ideas such as making him an announcer or maybe the manager of the Four Horsemen, but WCW higher ups always nixed the ideas. Anderson has been working behind the scenes for the last few months helping with booking. And then Dave adds this little bit on the end of the story: "He (Anderson) wasn't supposed to steal the show on Nitro on 8/25. That was for today's glamour boys who are just toooo sweet. But unlike the glamour boys from ten years earlier in the same position, this time Arn Anderson won't be still around in a prominent role while they become "Whatever happened to?" trivia questions."

- With Raw pre-empted due to tennis, Nitro did its highest ratings ever, the largest audience to ever watch a wrestling show on cable. Dave explains all the numbers and how the ratings compare to other previous big shows in the 80s and how, with so many more people having cable TV now, the ratings numbers could seem misleading. For instance, the 1985 MTV show with Hogan vs. Piper did a 9.1 rating but far less people had cable back then and the rating is based on percentage of available homes and yada yada. So Nitro doing a 4.9 rating now still means that more people watched Nitro because more people have cable now than they did 12 years ago.

- The latest on Steve Austin's neck injury is he's expected to be out for at least 2 months. He suffered a bruised spine but also had lingering wear-and-tear neck issues anyway. The overall result is that he has nonstop tingling in his shoulders right now. The first doctor he saw told him to retire immediately or he risked paralysis. The most recent doctor basically told him to take 2 months off, do some rehab, and they'd reevaluate then. So for now, Austin is likely going to have to forfeit both the IC title and tag title belt he holds with Dude Love but as of press time, no decision has been made of how to do that. The plan appears to be wait a couple of weeks and see how Austin is progressing before they decide what to do. Austin was also scheduled to face Bret Hart for the WWF title at the One Night Only PPV in the UK later this month but that has been changed to Hart vs. Undertaker (speaking of, Taker was supposed to face Ahmed Johnson but that match was scrapped also due to Johnson's knee injury). Austin's injury has scared a lot of wrestlers in both WWF and WCW due to how the American style of wrestling seems to becoming harder hitting and faster paced. Injuries have skyrocketed in recent years and Austin's injury really spooked people because it was visually scary to watch and it happened on a high profile PPV to arguably the hottest wrestler in the business right now. And it was made even worse because Owen Hart is considered one of the safest workers to wrestle so if even he can make a mistake like that, anyone can.

- The future of All Japan Women's promotion is in question with rumors that the company is close to bankruptcy. AJW is the 3rd oldest promotion in the world (formed in 1968). Talent and office staff reportedly haven't been paid since March, which is why many of their top stars and office staff have quit recently. Also, the long-time headquarters of the promotion is now up for sale and the 4 brothers who own the company have all sold their houses and moved into small apartments to help keep the company going. It's believed the brothers' other outside business interests have cost them a lot of money and AJW has become a money-loser as the popularity has faded. Dave recaps the history of AJW, their boom years in the 80s and all that fun stuff. But all those big stars of the 80s have moved on and the stars of the early 90s are getting older and slowing down and there's just not any new talent coming along to replace them. As of 2 years ago, they were still doing strong business, but it's fallen off a cliff recently. At their show last week, top star Kyoko Inoue announced she was leaving the company after finishing up her commitments. No one was aware she was going to make the announcement and she also holds the title right now. So everyone was really upset about it. Dave also says it upset her longtime rival Manami Toyota. She says Inoue and Toyota have an in-and-out of the ring rivalry similar to Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, where they genuinely don't get along in the ring or behind the scenes and are the two top stars of the promotion. Aja Kong wrestled her last match for AJW on the same show.

- Time to announce the newest inductees into this year's Observer Hall of Fame. Before doing so, Dave talks about the trouble with doing a Hall of Fame (people always throwing a fit because so-and-so hasn't been inducted yet) and then talks about the difficulties in deciding criteria. Do you count titles? Some of the greatest ever never held many titles. Others held hundreds of titles due to having the right political connections. Sometimes the best workers never really reached stardom, while others were awful but became superstars because they were in the right place at the right time or had the right friends. Some are nice guys, some are the worst con-men ever. Some might have been the best worker in the world 50 years ago but by today's standards, might not even be considered average. Point being, comparisons and specific criteria is hard because it's an evolving business and there are a million variables and all the stats are worked so how do you decide who's truly worthy? Anyway, the basic criteria for WON HOF induction: overall star power, being a great worker or top draw within their era, historical significance, etc. "The people on this list should be unquestioned superstars, not just major stars." These criteria are all pretty abstract and open for debate, of course. The only criteria not up for debate is that they are at least 35 years old or have been active as a pro wrestler for at least 15 years. And finally, the inductees are voted on by people within the industry (other wrestlers or notable names within the business), wrestling journalists and historians, and Dave himself, all voting by secret ballot.

- This year's inductees: Édouard Carpentier, Toshiaki Kawada, Jimmy Lennon, William Muldoon, Chigusa Nagayo, and El Hijo del Santo. Dave gives each one a quick career recap and explains who they are and why they are worthy. Wikipedia is your friend here.

- WCW's most recent Clash of the Champions is in the books and it may turn out to be the last. The future of the Clash of the Champions shows is unknown now that TBS is adding a new weekly WCW show on Thursday. If this does turn out to be the final Clash (it was), it will be remembered for having one of those unfortunately screwed up angles that only seems to happen at Clashes (ala Shockmaster). The show was supposed to end with Sting in the rafters with a trained buzzard that had a note attached to his foot saying that he wanted "Hogan's soul." When the lights went out, the buzzard was supposed to fly to the ring with the note. But evidently during flight, the note fell off and the buzzard just sat there on the ropes while the NWO guys tried not to laugh and tried to kill time since there were several minutes left and nothing to do but have a stare-down with this bird while looking around for the note. Dave says even if the angle had gone off as planned, it would have been stupid.

- Other notes from the Clash: It drew a somewhat disappointing crowd, but did a good rating. But in a world where we get 2 and sometimes 3 hour Nitros every week full of big angles, it wasn't anything special. Steve McMichael and Alex Wright won the US and TV titles respectively. Raven and Stevie Richards had a bad match that looked like amateurs backyard wrestling. Eddie Guerrero showed up looking more ripped than he ever has before and Dave heavily implies that Eddie is on steroids without actually saying it. And there were stupid skits the TBS' Dinner & A Movie hosts which ended with DDP giving one of them a diamond cutter.

- At a WWC show in Puerto Rico, the fans started throwing chairs in the ring during a barbed wire match. With the guys basically trapped in the ring, over 200 chairs were thrown before what little security there was finally managed to quell the disturbance before a riot broke out. No wrestlers were injured, but a 12-year-old kid was hit with a chair and busted open. After the next match, the fans started nearly rioting again and police were called and over 50 of them showed up to calm things down before the show continued. At another show the next night, some government officials showed up and confiscated $18,000 in ticket money because Carlos Colon apparently owed the government that much in back taxes.

- Despite Eric Bischoff trying to make peace, EMLL's Paco Alonso and Promo Azteca's Konnan continue to be at war. Alonso has been trying to get indie promoters to no longer book Promo Azteca stars on their shows, saying he won't let any of his talent to work shows where Promo Azteca stars are booked. Also, Konnan had a hearing last week over his repeated fights with fans, with them attempting to have Konnan deported (he's originally from Cuba) but he only got a $1,000 fine and gets to stay in Mexico. And in the midst of all this, AAA's Antonio Pena has quietly filed trademarks on the names, costumes, and gimmicks of Juventud Guerrera and Psicosis, claiming he owns them and trying to force both men to not be able to use their names and outfits elsewhere (WCW).

- AJPW is considering doing a show at the Tokyo Dome next year. It would be the 25th anniversary of the company and a way to celebrate Giant Baba's birthday. It's interesting because Baba has never tried to run a show in a building bigger than Budokan Hall because he's afraid it will take away from Budokan Hall as being the special "big arena" for AJPW. And honestly, because he's also afraid a show at any venue bigger than that would fail. But he's considering it this time.

- More on the death last week of Japanese women's wrestler Plum Mariko, who died in the ring. It appears the injuries she suffered were before the match and didn't really have anything to do with the moves she took in that match. She had a fractured skull, brain hemorrhage, aneurysm, and was believed to be suffering from post-concussion syndrome all before she even went into the ring. She died the next day on the operating table.

- Nobuhiko Takada's match against Rickson Gracie is apparently back on and will take place in October. It's believed the show will probably bomb financially and the behind the scenes of getting this fight to happen is reportedly a total disorganized mess (and thus, Pride was born).

- This week's USWA show will be the last time it airs live on Saturday mornings in Memphis. They'll still tape the show on Saturday mornings, but it will be aired at midnight. Jerry Lawler cut a promo telling fans about the time change and blamed it on Bill Clinton and Al Gore, saying they're trying to tell people how to run their families and are pushing for more educational programming on Saturday mornings, so wrestling has to move to a late night time slot.

- Indie wrestler Jeep Swenson passed away this week from a massive heart attack at age 40. He wrestled a PPV match for WCW as part of the 3-level cage 8-vs-2 cage match of the Dungeon of Doom vs. Hogan and Savage at Uncensored 96. He was originally called The Final Solution before somebody informed WCW that it was probably a bad idea to use that name. He was then renamed the Ultimate Solution. He also had a role as Bane in the recently released Batman & Robin movie.

- ECW Hardcore Heaven buyrate looks to be down 20% or so from the first ECW PPV, and looks to have done around 40,000 buys. Paul Heyman has reportedly promised Request TV that the lighting will be much better for ECW's next PPV (one of the big complains about Hardcore Heaven). Although a lot of ECW fans liked the PPV, Heyman has been openly admitting that it was a bad show and promising to do better. At a recent ECW house show, Heyman got on the mic and said the show sucked and even joked about the bad lighting. Compare that to WWF or WCW who have had much worse shows and then gone on TV the next night proclaiming it was the best PPV in history. In other news related to the show, everyone got their PPV check and most were unhappy with it and were openly complaining about their pay.

- ECW seems to be doing an ECW vs. WWF angle, but without any real input from WWF. Sabu and RVD had been beating guys and then draping a WWF banner over them. Paul Heyman cut promos trashing McMahon. Aldo Montoya showed up and said McMahon made him look like shit, then took his jockstrap mask off and threw it in the crowd. The fans chanted "You still suck" at him.

- New Jack did another crazy dive off the balcony at an ECW show and tried to land on his feet and ended up blowing out his knee.

- ECW tried to get Sid to appear at the Hardcore Heaven PPV but he turned them down due to his neck injuries. He had successful neck surgery right before the PPV and is still talking about suing WWF over his termination.

- Dave says Shane Douglas needs a new finisher. It's 1997 and nobody is buying a regular ol' belly-to-belly suplex as a legit finisher nowadays. YOU HEAR THAT, BAYLEY?!

- WCW has been doing an angle where Curt Hennig may or may not join the Four Horsemen. The idea all along has been for Hennig to eventually turn on Flair, and it was supposed to happen on Nitro a few weeks ago, then at the Clash this week, but both times, they scrapped it. Hennig is still expected to turn on Flair soon, but it's not known when (Fall Brawl).

- Steven Regal was charged with a misdemeanor over the airplane incident a few weeks ago. It appears Regal urinated on a flight attendant, which is what led to the emergency landing in Anchorage where Regal, Scott Norton, and Marcus Bagwell were all kicked off the plane and Regal arrested. Word is Regal won't be deported but he may not be allowed to fly for a year, which would obviously hinder his job in WCW. So his status is still...wait for it...up in the air ("pardon the pun", Dad Dave adds).

- Rick Martel had an interview with WCW this week and at 41 is reportedly still in great shape. He wants to come in as a tag team with Winnipeg wrestler Don Callis, "a Howard Stern lookalike who does really good interviews."

- Meetings were held with WCW and Turner execs this week about the new Thursday show. Nothing was really decided but word is TBS made it clear that the show has to be as good as Nitro. They're paying big money for it and they don't want a second-rate throwaway show. Since he's being forced to do it, Eric Bischoff is pushing to make Nitro the NWO show and make Thursday a WCW show and make it seem like a promotional war between the two. Dave thinks that's a risky idea.

- WWF taped 2 weeks of Raw and 3 weeks of Shotgun all in one long 6-hour sitting and almost all the matches ended in cheap DQ finishes. Reports from people there said it was basically the worst shows ever.

- Ahmed Johnson was on a local sports talk show in Houston and ripped into Hogan ("a has been") and WCW's use of sports stars like Steve McMichael, Kevin Green, and Dennis Rodman, saying they were all no talents and shouldn't be in the ring. He said WCW has no dedication to the business and only got successful by stealing stars from WWF.
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Meetings were held with WCW and Turner execs this week about the new Thursday show. Nothing was really decided but word is TBS made it clear that the show has to be as good as Nitro. They're paying big money for it and they don't want a second-rate throwaway show. Since he's being forced to do it, Eric Bischoff is pushing to make Nitro the NWO show and make Thursday a WCW show and make it seem like a promotional war between the two. Dave thinks that's a risky idea.


Thunder might have been the worst wrestling show of all time.
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[+] 1 user Likes Ceallach's post

- Top story this week is Dan Severn signing on to fight at the next UFC PPV in October, filling in for the injured Mark Coleman. If Severn wins, he's expected to retire from shoot-fighting as UFC champion and use that fame to jump into pro-wrestling full-time with the gimmick of a UFC champion who never lost the title. Severn has already been wrestling for IWA in Japan and WWF is interested in bringing him in to feud with Ken Shamrock as well and there have been negotiations for months.

- Eric Bischoff held a meeting with AAA president Paco Alonso and Promo Azteca's Konnan to try to get the 2 sides to work together and to put together a WCW-promoted joint Lucha Libre PPV next year. But the meeting didn't go well and the 2 sides are already back at war. A couple of EMLL stars no-showed their recent show and surprise debuted the same night for Promo Azteca. As for the meeting, word is Konnan and Paco Alonso were cordial at first but by the end of the meeting, both men were yelling and cursing at each other.

- Kensuke Sasaki defeated Shinya Hashimoto for the IWGP title, ending Hashimoto's 489-day reign as champion, the longest reign in title history (still the longest reign ever to this day. Although as I post this, Okada is on day 464. So it's entirely possible that this record will finally be broken within the next month. Although never doubt EVIL!). As for Sasaki, he's currently being given one of the biggest pushes ever in NJPW history. On top of now being the IWGP champion, he also won the IWGP tag titles last month and he also won the most recent G1 Climax. After winning, Sasaki challenged his mentor Riki Choshu to a match, which will likely be the main event of this upcoming Jan. 4th Tokyo Dome show (nope) because that is the show where Choshu is retiring. Speaking of Choshu, even though Sasaki won the title, the show was pretty much a tribute show to Riki Choshu and drew the largest non-stadium gate ever in Japanese wrestling history. Choshu's merch sold out in record time and the crowd was insane for him. Choshu got on the mic and emphatically said that unlike every other wrestler who "retires", he will never wrestle again after the Jan. 4th show (yeeeeah about that...). It's expected that Choshu will eventually take over as president of NJPW after retiring.

- A former Olympic wrestler and later pro wrestler Dale Lewis died this week from leukemia. His amateur wrestling days in the 50s and 60s ended up negatively affecting his later pro wrestling career. In college, Lewis went to the University of Oklahoma along with Bill Watts. Lewis and Watts had a wrestling match to see who would be the school's varsity heavyweight wrestler. Lewis won (also claiming it was the toughest match he ever wrestled, including in the Olympics). Watts never wrestled varsity while Lewis went on to win 2 NCAA titles. Watts reportedly held a grudge against Lewis over it and he claimed that years later, that grudge held him back from being able to work in the Oklahoma area as a pro wrestler, because Watts ran that whole region and did everything he could to keep Lewis out. The same thing happened when Lewis tried to go work in the northeast. In the 1960 Olympic trials, Lewis defeated Gorilla Monsoon in an amateur match to make the team, while Monsoon didn't make the cut due to the loss. And so years later, Lewis was never able to work for the WWWF in the 70s because Monsoon wouldn't let him in.

- Steve Williams & Garry Albright vs. Kenta Kobashi & Johnny Ace in AJPW was.....horrible. Dave says it was possibly the worst AJPW match of the decade and says he wouldn't believe how bad it was if he hadn't seen it with his own eyes. Considering the talent in the ring, he says it's a worst match of the year candidate. Everyone except Kobashi looked bad, but Kobashi wasn't good enough to save it. It gets the dreaded DUD rating. Can't seem to find video of it.

- Former UWA promoter Carlos Maynes was finally released by his kidnappers last week. The story seems to have been covered up and the media is being pretty quiet, so no one knows if the ransom was paid for his freedom or not (we never find out. But for those who wanted closure on that, there ya go. He was released and lived until 2015.

- In FMW, Atsushi Onita is scheduled to face Wing Kanemura in one of their usual exploding ring death matches. Interestingly enough, Onita has vowed to retire from wrestling if he loses, which Dave says takes a lot of nerve given all the controversy of him going back on his word on his first retirement a couple of years ago.

- The ownership situation in USWA is sort of a mess. No one really knows what's going on, but it seems like the new owners (a couple of Cleveland businessmen) seem to be spending a lot of money on things like new sets and making the show look better, but there hasn't been any new money coming in to offset it. USWA has survived for years because Jerry Jarrett basically never spent any money and ran a bare bones promotion while everybody else went out of business. There's lots of rumors flying around about the future of the company (nearly dead).

- At the funeral of wrestler Jeep Swenson, both Hulk Hogan and actor James Caan gave eulogies. Everybody in the WCW locker room was talking about Swenson's death since he was just there last year for a PPV main event and his death has been widely attributed to his years of steroid abuse, which lots of people in WCW are familiar with.

- ECW star Perry Saturn has signed with WCW. Apparently lots of ECW talent have been contacted by WCW recently and there are rumors that WCW is trying to raid the company. There's lots of blame going around about who's responsible because it's believed someone in ECW is facilitating it (just a hunch, but I think Bill Alfonso and Tod Gordon should start covering their tracks...). John Kronus won't be joining Saturn in WCW because apparently Saturn has been wanting to go solo for a long time and had been trying to split up the Eliminators since last year, but Paul Heyman wanted to keep them together.

- On Nitro this week, the NWO (Kevin Nash, Syxx, Marcus Bagwell, and Konnan) did a parody of the Arn Anderson retirement promo from last week and it's generated a lot of controversy. The initial idea was for the NWO guys to do their parody, and then the Horsemen would run in and clean house on the NWO and get the expected big pop. But on the day of the show, Eric Bischoff nixed the Horsemen run-in (Nash's suggestion). Flair was supposed to do a promo later in the show, but he was so pissed about the NWO parody that he refused to go out and do it. Flair had no problem with how he was portrayed in the parody, but he's very protective of Anderson, who is one of Flair's closest friends, and was furious about the way they made fun of him. Anderson was also upset, especially when he talked to his family and found out that his wife and 12-year-old son had been bothered by it. Anderson got into a confrontation with Kevin Sullivan (co-booker) about it after the show. Anderson was said to be considering quitting the company, while Flair's contract is up in February and he's resisted signing a new contract so far.

- As for the segment itself, Dave says it was hilarious in parts, especially Nash and Syxx. But he also said it went a little too far at times and it began to feel more mean-spirited than a wrestling promo should be. Arn Anderson's mother died when he was young due to alcoholism so Dave thinks the alcoholic references were too far. There's been a lot of real heat brewing backstage between the Horsemen and NWO members.

- On Nitro, during a Yuji Nagata match, Mike Tenay talked about Nagata's legit amateur wrestling background (1989 Japanese national champion and 1992 Greco-roman national champion). This led to Larry Zbyszko talking about his own amateur wrestling abilities and making fun of Nagata and basically burying him, acting like he could easily beat up Nagata if he wanted to. Dave says he doesn't know why bitter has-beens like Zbyszko feel like they always have to put other people down on commentary rather than helping to try to get them over, as is their job. Then Dave decides to share a story about Zbyszko, (real name Lary Whistler) which I'll just copy and paste: "When I was in college at San Jose State, the Athletic Director was a good friend of mine named David Adams, who was a great college wrestler in the 50s and later coached wrestling at Pitt for many years. When he was wrestling coach at Pitt, Larry Whistler was a high school wrestler in Pittsburgh. I figured from being a pro wrestling fan and how he was billed when he turned pro in Pittsburgh that he had to choose between going to college on a wrestling scholarship or turning pro under the tutelage of Bruno, that he must have been a hotshot high school wrestler. The truth of the matter according to Adams, who knew him well, is that he was a slightly above average high school wrestler, Adams would always point out he wasn't a good high school wrestler, and was nowhere near the calibre of even being someone that he would have considered as having college potential."

- Disco Inferno returned to WCW on Nitro, doing a bit where he was dancing with the Nitro girls and then caused Hugh Morrus to lose a TV title match. Dave says Morrus is really agile for his size but don't confuse it with being a good worker, because he sucks.

- For now, it appears that the plan is Nitro will become an NWO show while the new Thursday show will be a WCW show but that could still change.

- Hector Garza suffered torn ligaments in his arm when he was installing an air conditioner at his house and the unit slipped and fell on him while he was on the ladder. He fell and the AC unit cut his arm up badly. He'll be out action for a month or so.

- On the Saturday Night show, Dusty Rhodes "set a new announcing record by going an entire match on commentary without mentioning the name of even one of the six competitors" in a 6-man tag match featuring some of the Mexican guys.

- Steve Austin's first match back will likely be at Survivor Series in Montreal, although he may work a few house show matches or something before then just to knock the ring rust off.

- Mark Henry is being sent to Calgary to train with Bret Hart. WWF is trying one last hail Mary with hopes that they might get something out of their multi-million dollar guaranteed contract investment in Mark Henry. I dunno you guys, doesn't sound like this guy has much left in the tank.

- Jerry Lynn worked a match on Raw against Brian Christopher and was super impressive but they didn't offer him a contract because they have too many people under contract already and have trouble getting them all full-time work. But expect him to be brought in more often based on his great performance.

- Meanwhile, one paragraph later: Scott Putski has signed a WWF contract.

- The reason Jim Cornette is no longer being used as a manager is because they keep him busy with so much other work like announcing on Shotgun and writing for TV and other office work, so he doesn't have time to also go on the road.

- WWF is looking for a way to elevate Hunter Hearst Helmsley to the next level so he may end up being paired with Shawn Michaels after all, which is what Shawn has been pitching anyway. There have been discussions of putting them together with Rick Rude as sort of a new version of the Kliq but it may not happen.

- A couple of people writing in about fans bringing signs. The first guy spends 3 paragraphs bitching that WCW confiscated his sign at a show. The other guy writes in to complain about everyone else's signs and tries to lay ground rules for what fans should bring. Don't put your own name on signs, don't say hi to your friends or wife, don't be crude (he specifically calls out a sign on Raw that someone had which said "Hulk and Flair have tits!" which is kinda hilarious honestly).
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Top story this week is Dan Severn signing on to fight at the next UFC PPV in October, filling in for the injured Mark Coleman. If Severn wins, he's expected to retire from shoot-fighting as UFC champion and use that fame to jump into pro-wrestling full-time with the gimmick of a UFC champion who never lost the title. Severn has already been wrestling for IWA in Japan and WWF is interested in bringing him in to feud with Ken Shamrock as well and there have been negotiations for months.

Lol, Dan Severn wouldn't retire until 2013 with a fucking crazy record of 101-19-7. This man had 127 professional fights. And he is still angling for some nostalgia fueled bouts with Shamrock and Tank Abbot, lol.
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- ECW founder Tom Gordon has split from the company this week amid a ton of controversy. Reportedly it stems from Gordon attempting to get several ECW wrestlers to jump ship with him to WCW, where the plan was to create a new outsiders-type angle with ECW talent. Dave says WCW booker Terry Taylor reportedly offered Shane Douglas a $300,00-per-year deal after speaking with Tod Gordon. And allegedly WCW had Raven contact Tommy Dreamer and tell him he could get $200,000 per year. Several other wrestlers reportedly told Heyman that Tod Gordon had approached them about going to WCW. None of them have accepted any WCW deals as of press time. It also appears that Bill Alfonso was somehow involved in this as well, and his future with ECW looks bleak.

- As for the plan to create an ECW faction in WCW, Dave is skeptical. He can't imagine that Hogan, Nash, and Hall would allow a group of wrestlers with no mainstream name value to come into WCW and do an invasion angle while their NWO angle is still going on. WCW sources claim Gordon approached WCW with the idea of bringing in a few ECW guys who Gordon would manage, but WCW didn't think he'd be a good manager and nixed it. Dave thinks the plan must not have gotten too far along and that WCW's offers must not have been too serious, otherwise some of the ECW guys (who don't make that much) surely would have taken the big money to go work for WCW. Needless to say, ECW is claiming contract tampering on WCW's part and is once again making noise about lawsuits, just like he did with Raven, but so far nothing has been filed. Heyman also informed WWF of the situation because WWF has had a similar lawsuit against WCW over Hall and Nash. If both WWF and ECW can work together to prove a pattern of behavior with WCW tampering with contracts, it would look good for their lawsuit.

- Publicly, Paul Heyman has only said it's a business split and isn't saying anything negative about Gordon, but behind the scenes is a different story. On the ECW Hotline, there was a story about a mole within the company attempting to steal wrestlers for WCW. Heyman has also been scrambling to cover aspects of the business that Gordon used to handle, such as booking the ECW Arena. Gordon has refused to comment on the situation at all when asked but has reportedly seemed somewhat pleased that he's coming off as a heel among ECW fans, as if he thinks it's all an angle when it's definitely not. From here, Dave recaps the history of ECW, how it was founded by Gordon after he took over Joel Goodhart's Tri-State Wrestling Alliance promotion and how it was on the verge of folding before it was taken over by Paul Heyman, who basically saved it through sheer brilliance.

- WWF's Ground Zero PPV is in the books and was pretty much nothing special. Brian Pillman beat Goldust meaning he gets to have Marlena for 30 days. On commentary, they talked about Pillman and Marlena having a relationship in the past and Dave says there's some truth to that (also, a long running rumor that Pillman and Tom Zenk tag-teamed her or something). Scott Putski was injured in his match with Brian Christopher and reportedly suffered what's thought to be a torn quad and had surgery the next day. The injury caused the match to end early. The Savio/Faarooq/Crush match was one of the worst of the year. Austin gave Jim Ross a stunner and Ross was supposed to do a stretcher job, but they forgot to bring the stretcher back after Putski had to be legitimately carried out on it so he ended up being helped out by Sgt. Slaughter. Dave also notes that Vince McMahon seemed really tired on commentary. The Patriot was given a WWF title shot but was basically buried (lost by submission and then destroyed by Bret after the match). Shawn Michaels worked his ass off in the first ever match he's had with Undertaker, but the match was an overbooked mess.

- Dave talks some more about the fallout of the NWO parody of Arn Anderson's retirement and basically says the same thing as last week. Most of the stuff was planned, but the Horsemen were supposed to run out afterwards and beat down the NWO but that got nixed. And apparently some of Nash's jokes about Anderson's drinking were apparently too far for some people. And then Flair refused to come out later in the night and cut a promo because he was so pissed. The heat between the Horsemen crew and NWO crew was said to be so severe that people were legitimately worried that something dangerous or bad might happen, and a lot of people still remember the Sid/Anderson scissors fight. Some people also think it might be an elaborate work being pulled on everyone backstage (ala Pillman). Dave thinks it's possible because Flair wasn't punished for refusing to go on TV at Nitro, and house show main events have also been changed to NWO/Horsemen and if there was really that much heat there (like Bret and Shawn), then one would think WCW would try to keep them apart, not make them work with each other in the ring. So if the heat is real, it must not be *that* bad.

- This week, Nitro more than doubled Raw's rating, which is the biggest gap between the 2 shows ever. In fact, even the REPLAY of Nitro later that night did a higher rating than the live final hour of Raw.

- EMLL wrestler Steele (Sean Morley) had a tryout with WCW this week. He had a tryout with WWF a few weeks ago but wasn't offered a deal (he'd later become Val Venis of course).

- More bad news for All Japan Women, as 3 of their wrestlers just quit the company due to not being paid in months, and word is at least 6 more of their stars are close to walking as well. Things aren't looking good for this promotion.

- Still turmoil behind the scenes in USWA, with no one really seeming to be sure who owns the company anymore or where the money is coming from. No one seems to be getting paid, but a lot of money was spent on cosmetic changes to make the TV show look better. Most of the wrestlers make anywhere from $40-to-$100 per show, but the company hasn't held any shows in over a week so no one's making any money right now. Tommy Rich has reportedly left the company, claiming they shorted him $10 dollars after a show a couple of weeks ago.

- Former WCW jobber Hard Body Harrison worked a USWA show and came out to the ring with 2 women (I only mention this because Harrison was later arrested and sent to prison for basically keeping women hostage in his home and running a prostitution ring with them).

- At the latest Ian Rotten IWA show in Louisville, Dennis Coraluzzo made an appearance and cut an interesting promo. First he accused Ian Rotten of trying to sexually molest his son. Then he made fun of the recent death of Princess Diana, saying that if she hadn't been giving a blowjob to an Arab in the backseat of her car instead of wearing her seatbelt, she might still be alive. Well....okay then.

- Bruno Sammartino is filming a commercial for Social Security direct deposits soon.

- Some notes on the Insane Clown Posse rap group that did an angle at the ECW PPV. The rappers are from Detroit and met at a WWF show 10 years ago. Their album Great Milenko has gotten a lot of publicity due to being banned by Disney-owned Hollywood Records but Dave says none of the media outlets have picked up on the "Milenko" title being a misspelled reference to Boris Malenko. The rappers have also wrestled on Michigan-area indie shows using the names Hector Hatchet and Sewer Dweller.

- Jerry Lynn debuted for ECW this week, losing matches to Chris Candido and PJ Walker (Aldo Montoya). Word is the Lynn/Walker match was great. Walker is expected to get a big push soon.

- Perry Saturn debuted in WCW against Billy Kidman in a dark match at Nitro. Saturn is still favoring his knee, but considering the severity of the injury, it's a miracle he's even wrestling at all. Saturn has been telling people he left ECW because he didn't want to team with Kronus anymore and that even if Kronus comes to WCW, he won't reform the team. He also said he left because WWF and WCW are the only 2 places to make real money in the business. Saturn's contract is for $100,000 per year for 3 years but there's a clause in the contract that if his knee gives out again in the first 90 days, WCW can cancel the deal. (Saturn only wrestled 2 or 3 matches during that first couple of months before eventually easing back into a full time schedule. But sounds like he probably never really let his knee heal the way he should have).

- On Nitro, they did an angle where a mannequin dressed like Sting was lowered from the ceiling but dropped too fast and fell to the floor. They acted like he had fallen from the ceiling and wasn't breathing and brought a stretcher out and all that stuff, before finally revealing it was a mannequin that Hogan then beat up. Little awkward in retrospect now, knowing what happens to Owen in a year and a half...

- During a Psicosis/Dean Malenko match on Nitro, a fan jumped the rail and got into the ring, but was brought down by the referee, which led to the announcers making fun of the fan.

- The Giant was on an internet chat recently saying he was going to debut a moonsault in his house show matches against Kevin Nash, but that got scrapped because Nash refused to be the guinea pig for Giant trying to do a new move like that.

- Curt Hennig will be turning on the Horsemen to join the NWO at the end of the Fall Brawl PPV.

- EMLL wrestler Black Magic will start with WCW in October (better known to most of us as Norman Smiley).

- Rick Martel signed a 2-year contract with WCW and will be starting soon (eventually suffered some injuries in 98 that end his career).

- Eric Bischoff has been in discussions with Turner execs to bring new programming to TBS and TNT after all the success he's had with wrestling. It's still in the early preliminary stages of discussion, but there have been talks of bringing back Roller Derby and also working with the Japanese K-1 kickboxing promotion on an American expansion.

- WWF's next PPV wil be called Badd Blood and will feature Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker in a match called Hell In A Cell, which is a cage with a roof on top. Dave lists a few other scheduled matches and one of them is Brian Pillman vs. Dude Love in a falls count anywhere match but sadly, that one won't be happening.

- On Raw this week, Austin gave Sgt. Slaughter a stunner and then teased going after Vince McMahon. Austin has been telling everyone he feels fine and he's obviously well enough to do angles like this, so they're just waiting until he's medically cleared before allowing him back in the ring to have matches.

- WWF is trying to get Taka Michinoku to sign a 5-year contract and move to New York and learn English. Also, in an effort to build up better relations with Japanese media, WWF is allowing magazine photographers at ringside again. WWF banned them back in 1984 after starting his own WWF magazine but they're trying to get on good terms with the Japanese media because Vince wants WWF to run a show in the Tokyo Dome in the next year or two.

- Lots of people in WWF are upset about Sid being fired after his injuries suffered in a serious car accident a few months back. If a wrestler is unable to perform, WWF has always had the right to release them with 90 days notice, but they've never really exercised that option before until now. The fear is that with money being tight these days, people are afraid to get injured because they worry the company might release them rather than wait on them to heal and bring them back.

- There's also people upset about Hunter Hearst Helmsley's recent push because everyone believes it's only due to his friendship with Shawn Michaels because even with Chyna and his mega push, Helmsley isn't remotely over right now. But he's still getting pushed hard, which has led to some resentment.

- People are also upset about the drug testing situation. WWF had scrapped testing but then quietly brought it back, but not on a regular basis. Mostly just when they have a suspicion about someone, then they test them. But there's fear that the testing may become widespread again, which means everyone would have to give up smoking pot and all their other vices. Speaking of, testing was brought back a few weeks ago due to a wrestler passing out on a plane. It's been confirmed now that the wrestler was Hawk from LOD, but he ended up being okay. But the situation was scary enough that WWF decided to bring back limited testing.

- Shawn Michaels was sent to England and Germany for a promotional tour to plug the upcoming PPV, but due to the death of Princess Diana, they cancelled the England part of it, since it would have gotten no coverage at all due to the 24/7 nonstop Diana coverage.

- Olympic silver medal wrestler Matt Ghaffari met with WWF this week and hasn't signed but it's believed to be a good bet that he will (nope).

- The debut of "Cain" will take place at the Badd Blood PPV. The idea is they won't have a match immediately because Undertaker will refuse until he's basically forced to fight him.

- If the USWA ownership deal falls through, it's thought that WWF may take over the company and use it as a developmental territory. WWF's deal with ECW is similar, in that WWF will send contracted wrestlers that they aren't using to work in ECW (such as Al Snow and Aldo Montoya) to get repackaged and try out new characters.

- The deal with Rick Rude in WWF is that he can hit people but can't really take any moves from anyone mostly due to his WCW lawsuit which was settled after Rude claimed his in-ring career was over due to neck and back injuries. So he won't be wrestling or taking any bumps.

- The Brian Pillman/Marlena angle where she is Pillman's sex slave for 30 days is expected to end with her turning heel. She'll act like she's miserable for the whole time, but after the 30 days is up, she'll turn on Goldust and stay with Pillman (in case you were ever wondering how that was supposed to end, now we know).

- In a similar angle, WWF wants to split Marc Mero and Sable, but Mero is resisting it because he's not comfortable with doing a split with his real-life wife on TV.
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Looking at the Kane angle and the Undertaker angle...why is Kane vs Mankind at SurvivorSeries?

I am guessing it is addressed just seems weird.
Because they were stalling to get a Wrestlemania match out of it. Great long term booking.
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[+] 1 user Likes Chris's post

- The issue opens with a loooooooooooooong obituary for Fritz Von Erich, who passed away from cancer last week at 68. He was everything. A frightening main event heel wrestler during the post-WWII era, a real estate mogul who became a millionaire. One of the top promoters in the industry and easily the most famous wrestling personality ever in Texas. He was loved, hated, and feared by many. Father to an All-American family of kids that Dave describes as a Texas version of the Kennedys, and much like the Kennedys, they're a tragic family. He had 6 children. 5 wrestled. And only 1 lived to see his 34th birthday. Dave covers Fritz's life story in detail, from training with Stu Hart in the 1950s, his years playing an evil German heel, making the Iron Claw the most feared move in wrestling, the death of his 6-year-old son in 1959, his superstardom in Japan, his wrestling career through the 60s and 70s, his success in running the Texas territory during the NWA years, the World Class Championship Wrestling era, his deep ties to the religious community, the forced push of his sons, the Freebirds vs. Von Erichs years at the Dallas Sportatorium, and of course the tragic deaths of most of his children, mostly through drugs and suicide. It also goes into about how Kerry was already on steroids in 10th grade (given to him by his father), David Von Erich's death in Japan, how various scandals and angles eventually brought down WCCW along with Vince McMahon's expansion, and more. Anyway, Dave then basically talks about the "curse" of the Von Erichs and says that a lot of it can be attributed to Fritz, who essentially forced his children into a life they weren't equipped to handle and often put the success and image of his company ahead of their well-being and even facilitated their steroid abuse. A lot of people would say that the tragedies of Fritz's life may have been karma for many of the things he'd done, but Dave doesn't think anyone deserves to lose their children. Anyway....this guy's life should be a movie. Dave's obituary is long as shit and goes into a ton of detail on all this stuff. It's a must-read if you're into the history of wrestling like that.

- Mark Selker, one of the 3 Cleveland-area businessmen who recently purchased USWA, filed a lawsuit against Jerry Lawler and Larry Burton this week, claiming fraud in relation to the sale of the company. Selker basically claims that Lawler and Burton doctored the books to inflate the value of the company, so that when Selker bought in, he paid much more than he should have. There have even been rumors of criminal charges being filed against Lawler and Burton if this turns out to be the case. As for Lawler's side of the story, he basically says Selker bought in and then lost money and now he's just bitter about it. Selker has also informed the wrestlers that there are no more USWA shows and any shows booked by Lawler and Burton are not USWA shows and thus, USWA will not be paying them. Burton has been paying the wrestlers out of pocket for recent shows, but it looks as though some of the upcoming shows have been cancelled, including one that was supposed to feature Lawler vs. Tommy Dreamer. If the Cleveland owners bail on the company, it's believed that WWF may swoop in and buy it and use it as a developmental company, but until the legal mess is settled, WWF is staying out of it and not sending any of their talent to Memphis for the time being (this was pretty much the end of the road for USWA but we're far from done hearing about it).

- All Japan Women is in trouble also, as 5 of their stars, including 2 of the top names, have all left the company this week. Etsuko Mita and Mima Shimoda leaving is a huge blow and at this point, there's only 11 women on the roster and one of them is out injured. The company is $22 million in debt and no one has been paid in 5 months. The owners are so deep in debt that they can't even pay the interest. If they file bankruptcy, by Japanese law, they won't be allowed to start the business up again for 3 years.

- The Funk family indie show held in Amarillo TX last week was billed as Terry Funk's final match in his home town (NOT his actual retirement match, as they portrayed it in Beyond The Mat. Speaking of...) and the main event of Terry Funk vs. Bret Hart was filmed for a Barry Blaustein documentary tentatively titled "Beyond The Mat." There was a big ceremony for Funk held before the main event, featuring Paul Heyman and several ECW wrestlers, with Heyman giving Funk a replica ECW belt and telling him he is the lifetime ECW champion. Bret Hart also spoke and said he believes Funk is the greatest wrestler of all time. The show also featured most of the ECW roster and was pretty much a glorified ECW show with a few WWF wrestlers thrown in (including a Mankind vs. Sabu match). A guy named Dennis Stamp refereed the main event. The Hart/Funk match was great, with Hart working harder here than he usually does in WWF. Dave also says the film crew went with Terry Funk for a doctor's visit a few days before the show and says you can only imagine how bad the damage was after 32 years of the craziest wrestling ever.

- WCW Fall Brawl is in the books and was a typical WCW show. Strong undercard, meh uppercard. The War Games match itself was one of the worst ever but the post-match angle was great. As expected, Curt Hennig turned on the Horsemen and slammed the cage door on Flair's head. The angle was done to give Flair some time off because he's having some sort of cosmetic surgery (either a face lift or eye lift...well I'll be damned, never knew that).

- Vampiro had shows scheduled with both EMLL and Promo Azteca but he no-showed both of them, so it looks like he might have burned 2 bridges in one week (nah, seems pretty much impossible to burn bridges in Mexico during this time. Everybody got a million chances).

- Rey Misterio Jr. was almost suspended by the Tijuana athletic commission for no-showing a recent Promo Azteca show. Misterio went to the commission and explained that he had never agreed to the show and they had advertised him anyway and pointed out that he was injured at the time so he couldn't have worked the show anyway. He made a deal where he appeared at another Tijuana show and cut a promo to the crowd and promised to make up the show as soon as possible.

- Japanese women's wrestler (and wife of Kensuke Sasaki) Akira Hokuto collapsed at a clothing store and was hospitalized this week. All Dave knows is she had severe back pain and says she's been working with bad back injuries for years and that it wasn't unusual for her to get painkilling shots in her back and knees before matches.

- The upcoming shootfight between Nobuhiko Takada vs. Rickson Gracie is reportedly selling better than expected. At this rate, they're expecting a crowd of near 40,000 in the Tokyo Dome, which is that happens, the show will be a financial success, which nobody really predicted (and so it was. Ended up being closer to 50,000 and Pride was born).

- A Big Japan Wrestling show was cancelled because almost the whole roster got food poisoning after a big group dinner. They had to cancel the show because everyone was vomiting and had diahrrea and they didn't have enough healthy wrestlers to hold a show.

- Correction on Jeep Swenson's funeral. Hulk Hogan didn't give a eulogy and wasn't even there. Actor James Caan was there but didn't give a eulogy as reported. But apparently Davey Boy Smith was there and did deliver an emotional eulogy. Glad we cleared that up.

- On ECW TV this week, Paul Heyman announced that Tod Gordon is no longer the on-air commissioner of the company due to being too busy with his family life and outside business. Word is Heyman and Gordon have agreed not to bad-mouth each other publicly. Dave also mentions that when Paul Heyman took over ownership of ECW from Gordon several years ago, he agreed to take over ECW's outstanding debts, which were around $400,000, which Heyman would pay off in monthly installments to Gordon. Heyman was reportedly only about 4 months away from having it all paid off when the split happened.

- ECW is still sending WCW and Raven threatening legal letters about filing a lawsuit against them (and against Raven personally) but as of yet, no suit has been filed.

- Louie Spicolli got a tryout match with WCW and it's expected he'll be signing with the company soon. Word is he looked to be in better shape than he was in ECW a few months ago.

- All charges against Steven Regal for the airplane incident a couple months ago were dropped this week and he's been brought back to WCW and jobbed to Alex Wright on Nitro. Regal looked really overweight and rusty in the match.

- Hogan held up a sign on Nitro that said "Hey McMahon, Bite Me!" The cameras also repeatedly focused on a sign saying "Raw is Taped" which Dave thinks was planted.

- Jeff Jarrett's WCW contract expires next month. No word if he's planning to re-sign (nope).

- In bigger contract news, Hogan's WCW contract expires at the end of the year and he's already sent feelers out to WWF to gauge interest. The belief is that Hogan has no intention of actually going back to WWF and is only using them as leverage to get a better deal from WCW. Hogan has a ton of leverage right now because the Turner execs pretty much believe (rightly or wrongly) that Hogan is responsible for all of WCW's current success so they desperately don't want to lose him. Furthermore, Hogan's contract is due right about the same time as Starrcade, where he's expected to drop the title to Sting. So Hogan can use that as leverage as well, because if he wanted to, Hogan could refuse to put over Sting unless he gets what he wants, which would completely destroy the angle that they've been building for a year. And, of course, Hogan is also angling to get WCW to bring back Ed Leslie (Brutus Beefcake/a million other gimmicks).

- Shawn Michaels made news this week by going out on Raw in tight biker shorts with a sock stuffed in his crotch to make it look bigger, and then made a bunch of lewd gestures, swearing during his interview, and more. Much of it was edited out before it aired (remember, "Raw is Taped") and if you didn't know better, you wouldn't even realize it had been edited. Word is Vince McMahon wasn't there and when the cat's away, the mice will play. During the promo, Shawn also talked tons of shit about Undertaker, calling him "chickenshit" and other names but it was edited out. Undertaker wasn't there in the arena either. Everyone has talked about how unprofessional it was and Dave openly speculates that Shawn is trying to get fired so he can go to WCW.

- Now that WWF has introduced a new light heavyweight title, they have threatened NJPW with a lawsuit because they still use the old WWF light heavyweight belt as part of their J-Crown title. It's expected that NJPW will just quietly drop the belt.

- On Raw a couple of weeks ago, the idea was that British Bulldog would beat Hunter Hearst Helmsley in a match with Rick Rude's help. The gimmick would basically be that Rude would work for whoever paid him the most money and thus, he'd cost Helmsley a match since Bulldog paid him more. But Shawn Michaels stepped in and got the whole thing nixed so Helmsley didn't have to do the job.

- Paul Heyman has asked WWF to release Aldo Montoya (PJ Walker) from his contract so he can use him full time in ECW, but they won't do it.

- Marlena's grandfather died last week, so she and Goldust both missed a couple of house shows to go to the funeral.

- For some reason, AJPW is interested in using the Blackjacks (Barry Windham and Justin Hawk Bradshaw) for a tag team tournament. "Don't ask me why," Dave says. Anyway, WWF isn't using them lately so it may happen. Also, Bradshaw is expected to be repackaged soon and the team will be split up.
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- The legal fight over USWA got messier and because of it, no TV show was taped or aired this week. Here's the ownership situation: an investment group from Cleveland, led by a guy named Mark Selker, owns 50% of the company. Larry Burton owns the other 50%. Selker filed a lawsuit against Burton and former owner Jerry Lawler, who sold Selker 50% of the company for $1 million. Selker is claiming fraud and is also attempting to get criminal charges filed against Burton and Lawler. Selker managed to get several USWA shows, including the TV taping, cancelled after Selker managed to get the company's editing equipment taken away so they couldn't put together a TV show. Instead they just aired clips of old USWA shows. Burton is planning to try to get a restraining order so they can get their video equipment back by next week. The Memphis TV station that airs USWA's show is reportedly unhappy about all this drama and with ratings down (since they moved the show to midnight), it looks like they're almost ready to drop USWA entirely.

- In the lawsuit, Selker is asking for $1.5 million plus punitive damages from Lawler and Burton. The ownership history of USWA is as follows: for the last many years, Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett each owned 50% of the company. Last year, Lawler purchased Jarrett's half for around $250,000. Larry Burton then purchased USWA from Lawler. Then Burton went to Selker and claimed he had paid $2 million to get the company from Lawler and offered to sell 50% of the company (allegedly valued at $1 million) to Selker and a deal was made. But obviously, USWA wasn't worth anywhere near $2 million or even $1 million. From here, it gets really complicated and Dave explains it but I'm too simple-minded at math to make sense of it. But it basically looks like Lawler and Burton were fudging the numbers on the paperwork to make the company look far more valuable than it was, which is why Selker agreed to buy 50% of it and then he began investing a lot of money in the company, because he believed it to be a thriving business based on the fraudulent info. From here, Dave talks about the history of "money-marks" who invest in companies and lose their asses because they don't understand the business. (My take: it looks like Selker paid a lot of money to invest in a business he knew nothing about and without doing his homework, which is foolish. That being said, it also absolutely looks like Lawler and Burton defrauded the fuck out of this poor guy. And eventually the courts agreed because Burton ends up getting convicted for all sorts of fraud charges and goes to prison. Lawler, somehow, escapes free of the whole mess even though it sure looks like he was definitely guilty of it as well. I'm sure we'll get to all that, but this case drags on for years).

- WWF ran its first ever PPV specifically for the British market last week with the One Night Only show. The show was headlined by Shawn Michaels winning the European title from British Bulldog, who dedicated the match to his sister who is suffering from bone cancer. The idea seems to be that it will build up to another UK show next year, likely in Bulldog's hometown, where he'll regain the title. Shawn also became the first ever grand slam champion by winning the belt. Dave isn't sure if it's the right move considering Shawn's behavior lately (stuffing his biker shorts on TV, cursing out Undertaker which was edited out of Raw, and although Dave doesn't explicitly mention it, the fact that Shawn is a drugged out mess right now). It's also surprising Bulldog lost since he's advertised for shows next month as European champion and because of the whole dedicated-to-dying-sister thing (yeah, there's quite the shitty Shawn story behind that one but it doesn't look like Dave knows about it yet).

- Other notes from the show: The Patriot got the biggest heel heat on the show. Ken Shamrock vs. Owen Hart didn't happen because Shamrock said he had a punctured lung. In reality, he has a lung infection, which is why he was coughing up blood during his Summerslam match last month. The heat for the Bulldog/Shawn match was off the charts and by the end, fans were throwing debris at Shawn and it was said to have turned into a bit of a dangerous situation.

- All Japan Women drew a surprising sellout of over 4,000 people to a show last week, but many feel like it may have been the final hurrah for the company. Many of the wrestlers who have left are reportedly planning to start their own promotions or join up with other women's promotions so it seems like the writing is on the wall for AJW (nope, they're gonna limp along for quite awhile longer).

- Dave writes a brief obituary for Dick "The Bulldog" Brower, who was a heel who wrestled in the Northeast and Canada during the 60s and 70s and was one of Bruno Sammartino's regular opponents. After retiring in 1982, Brower was known as the leader of a white supremacist group and even appeared on radio commercials for the KKK. His last wrestling appearance was as a manager for Terry Funk in Joel Goodhart's TWA promotion in Philadelphia (which eventually became ECW).

- Depressing ratings news for WWF. Raw aired live from Madison Square Garden this week and WWF spent weeks hyping up how it was going to be a historic show in the world's most famous arena. The result? The rating was lower than last week's taped Raw from Muncie, IN. Even more depressing for WWF, after Nitro went off the air, Raw still showed almost no growth in the ratings for the second hour, meaning everyone turned off Nitro after it was over and nobody really switched over to see the last hour of Raw. As for Nitro, ratings are still great and they're holding up strong against Monday Night Football. But there is concern because for the last few weeks, there's been a significant drop in the ratings before the main event segment. Sting hasn't been doing his weekly drop-ins from the ceiling lately, so that could be why. And the main event matches have been Curt Hennig, DDP, and Lex Luger, so maybe they aren't keeping fans engaged. Or maybe fans are just getting bored with seeing basically the same ending each week on Nitro for the last year. But either way, fans are tuning out before the end of Nitro in droves right now.

- EMLL president Paco Alonso is reportedly close to signing deals with several AAA stars, including Blue Panther, Fuerza Guerrera, Heavy Metal and maybe even Perro Aguayo. If all 4 of them jump, especially Aguayo, it would be devastating to AAA.

- AAA has brought in a new guy named Psicosis and he has the same outfit and gimmick as the real Psicosis. This is basically similar to the La Parka thing, where Pena feels he owns the rights to the gimmick, so he made a new Psicosis. Dave expects this one to end up in court.

- In a cost-cutting measure, Stan Hansen will only work 5 tours for AJPW next year instead of his usual 7. Word is Hansen is the highest paid foreigner in the company but he's no longer a main eventer, so they decided to cut back on him.

- It was believed Riki Choshu would face Kensuke Sasaki in his retirement match at the NJPW Jan. 4th Tokyo Dome show but that won't be happening now. Instead, Choshu will face Sasake in November at a Fukuoka Dome show. Sasaki is expected to win, since he's Choshu's protege and Choshu wants to put him over before he retires. By doing the match now, Choshu gets to put over Sasaki but potentially still win his retirement match on Jan. 4th, against whoever it may be.

- Sid is reportedly training again. His neck is almost totally healed from the surgery but he's still having problems with his hip (they took a piece of bone from his hip for the neck surgery). He won't be medically able to wrestle again until January and he's hoping to go to WCW at that time. For now, his lawyers are still fighting WWF over his contract status, but no lawsuits have actually been filed yet. As for WCW, word is they're interested in him as long as there isn't too many complaints from the rest of the locker room (on top of the fact that, well, he nearly stabbed Arn Anderson to death, Sid is also disliked by both Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan). And even if WCW does bring him in, it will only be on a per-night deal and not a guaranteed contract due to his track record.

- The latest ECW Arena show was said to be the best in a long time. With all the criticism about the company only being sloppy brawling and blood, Heyman is trying to change that by trying to have better in-ring matches.

- PJ Walker, better known as Aldo Montoya in WWF, is doing a new gimmick in ECW now. He has his head shaved like Steve Austin and is using the name Justin Credible. Paul Heyman is really high on Credible and wants to get him out of his WWF contract to use him full-time for ECW. Speaking of WWF wrestlers working here, tag team Furnas and LaFon are here now also for a few weeks until they return to WWF.

- ECW was expected to have some sort of presence on the MSG episode of Raw but it didn't happen. Heyman claims that WWF told him in advance about the Austin/McMahon angle (more on that in a minute) and he figured that no matter what ECW did, nobody would be talking about them because of that angle, so he decided to just not even bother. WWF's side of the story is basically Paul Heyman is lying and WWF doesn't want ECW wrestlers on Raw anymore. WWF is still willing to send him wrestlers that they aren't using, in hopes that they can re-invent themselves in ECW and then return to WWF fresh, but beyond that, WWF has no interest. The WWF source also claims Heyman basically begged WWF to let him use Furnas and LaFon.

- Sabu threw a fireball at Sandman at the same show, which is interesting because it's the first time fire has been used in the ECW Arena since the famous 1995 incident where it got out of control. Heyman had vowed to never use fire again in ECW but yanno how that goes.

- Finally on the show, there was a Dreamer/Beulah vs. RVD/Bill Alfonso match. Dreamer was legit injured during the match and had to be taken out and RVD left the match after. This left Beulah vs. Alfonso, which was the planned finish before the Dreamer injury anyway. During the match, Alfonso bladed and cut a vein and later needed 16 stitches. Reports say Alfonso bled more than anyone ever at the ECW Arena. He was hospitalized for blood loss but was released later that night (yeah this one's pretty famous and legend has it that this saved Fonzie's job after the Tod Gordon/WCW debacle).

- ECW's next PPV is supposed to have a good bit more PPV coverage so even if the buyrate goes down from the previous PPV, it should still make a lot more money.

- Paul Heyman did an online chat this week and said he has so much confidence in the ECW product that if any fans who attend the shows don't like what they see, they can get a refund all the way up until intermission.

- Kevin Nash tore some ligaments in his knee last week and missed Nitro. Initial prognosis is that he will need surgery and will be out for about 3 months but there's pressure on him to just get the knee scoped so he can come back quicker. But for now, he's off all house shows and off of Halloween Havoc. Scott Hall will be teaming with Syxx to defend the tag titles in his absence. Speaking of Hall, he has also been complaining about a bad back and may miss some shows as well.

- Rookie Bill Goldberg debuted on Nitro this week and beat Hugh Morrus. Dave says Goldberg looks "very much like Warlord slightly gassed down (not like this guy didn't look gassed up)" and says he's a former Atlanta Falcons football player. He has a lot of potential and was pretty agile for a big guy. He also got an accidental black eye during the match and walked out when Okerlund tried to interview him. They're trying a gimmick with him where no one knows anything about him and he's just sorta silent and mysterious and bad ass. Wonder if that'll get over...

- Disco Inferno won the TV title and then started an angle with Jacqueline. It looks like Disco is going to have to put Jacqueline over in a match soon. His refusing to do that is what got him fired 6 months ago in the first place and WCW brought him back on the condition that he will lose a match to her.

- They're doing an angle where someone within WCW is feeding info to the NWO. Bobby Heenan wants the role so it'll probably end up being him. If not, it'll likely be one of the other announcers. The plan is still for Nitro to become the NWO show after the new Thursday show starts so they'll need one of the announcers to turn and join the NWO to be the voice of their show.

- There's been talk of adding Dean Malenko to the Four Horsemen as the new 4th member, but some certain top guys (basically Hall and Nash) are against it because they know they'll be feuding with the Horsemen and they don't want to have to sell for someone as small as Malenko.

- Perry Saturn is expected to miss another month or two. He worked his first WCW match last week waaaaay sooner than he should have and re-aggravated his knee injury.

- WCW has seriously been discussing bringing in Satoru Sayama for the cruiserweight division and Dave thinks that would be a great idea if it was still 1983.

- Expect Madusa to eventually return as Eric Bischoff's bodyguard. In the meantime, she's been MIA from wrestling and is engaged to Cincinnati Bengals player Ken Blackman.

- The current plan is for Hogan to drop the title to Sting at Starrcade, likely due to outside interference by Hall and Nash gone wrong, which would then lead to Hogan feuding with Hall and Nash in 1998. Of course, that can and likely will change between now and then because WCW plans tend to change by the minute lately.

- Louie Spicolli was offered a 1-year contract for $85,000 by WCW.

- Steve McMichael and his wife Debra are now separated in real life. Dave says they survived years together during his football career and her beauty pageant career, but it only took 1 year of pro wrestling to do the trick.

- WCW announcer Chris Cruise's contract is up soon and he's almost certainly gone. Apparently he recently went to Eric Bischoff and asked if they had anything to discuss in regards to his contract and Bischoff simply said "No" and walked away.

- Buddy Landel is telling people that he's going to WCW soon to be the "NWO Nature Boy." lol no.

- On Raw, Brian Pillman came out with Marlena dressed in skimpy clothing and a collar around her neck which he pulled her around by and cut a promo talking about having her bent over and having sex with her and claimed he fell and broke his arm during the act.

- In the big angle of the show, Vince McMahon tried to talk some sense into Austin about how he has a neck injury and they don't want him to get hurt. It led to Austin giving Vince McMahon a stunner, to a huge pop. Austin was then dragged out by police. The idea for now seems to be for Austin to work unsanctioned matches with the angle being that WWF won't sanction the matches because he's working against doctor's orders. On commentary, they sold it like Austin would definitely be fired for attacking the owner of the company. Vince sold the stunner like it killed him, but after the cameras were off, he pretty much got up and walked out without selling it.

- Also on Raw, Dude Love came on the screen and said he wasn't going to face Helmsley and then said Mankind was. But then Mankind came on and said he wouldn't either and then they both introduced Mick Foley as Cactus Jack (pretty historic Raw here). There were a lot of ECW chants for that one.

- Jim Neidhart returned during an angle with the Hart Foundation fighting off Shawn Michaels and his group. During the angle, Neidhart hit Rick Rude a few times, which is interesting because due to his insurance policy, Rude can dish out punches and stuff but he isn't allowed to take any bumps or hits. He reportedly wasn't too happy about it afterwards. After about 3 hits from Neidhart, Rude bailed out of the ring looking noticeably pissed.

- Steve Corino worked a dark match before the Raw taping and looked decent.

- Don Callis has signed a WWF deal and will be starting soon.

- Yokozuna is moving to Stamford, CT and is expected to return to WWF soon, as he's stil under contract (nope).

- Ken Shamrock was heavily fined for missing a house show in Albuqurque last week. No word why he missed but it must not have been a great excuse since they fined him.

- Missy Hyatt and Scott Putski did a porn film that aired on one of the PPV porn channels this week. Putski doesn't show his face in the video. There's a shower scene with both of them plus Hyatt does some stuff with other women in the video (uh...what? I've never heard of this?)

- WWF has hired Basil DeVito as the COO of Titan Sports. DeVito had previously worked for the company before but left, so this is a re-hire. He's basically going to be on the same corporate level as Linda McMahon and is only behind Vince on the totem pole. (DeVito would later become the president of the XFL and he is still with WWE today).

- The reason Sgt. Slaughter is the on-air commissioner is because Gorilla Monsoon has been having health problems due to diabetes complications (this is basically the start of his health deteriorating, which eventually led to his death 2 years later).

- Jim Cornette made some waves with what he said on WWF's Byte This audio show on the internet. I'll just copy and paste his rant in full because holy shit it's good. Especially the line about Konnan:

"I know a lot of people saw Arn Anderson's retirement speech a few weeks ago on Nitro. That was not only one of the greatest interviews I've ever seen, but one of the classiest things I've ever seen on a wrestling program. What Arn said and the way that he said it. But what I didn't see, but I've been told by a number of people, and I've read a little bit about, is this parody of it that the NWO goofs did. I'm glad I didn't see it, because I probably would have thrown up. I heard enough about it, and knowing the people involved, I can imagine how mean spirited it was, and what a big kick they all got out of it, because we all know how funny the NWO think that they are. It wasn't an interview, because if you know these guys personally, you know they meant everything that they said and they abused their position to make little statements and little comments about people. I'm going to say this right out front. I mean every word I'm saying and I don't care who knows it. It shows how little taste and how little class that the whole promotion has to begin with to do a parody of that interview, but I'm not surprised because of the quality of human beings that are involved. As far as the whole group of them goes, Konnan couldn't draw money if you dipped him in glue and drug him through Fort Knox. Bagwell, I don't know, maybe he was just trying to keep his job. But Nash, Hall and Syxx, I guess he's named after his IQ or the number of brain cells he has left, ya know all the fans think that these guys are so cool and they're so sweet. They got the easiest jobs in the world. All they got to do is go out there and be themselves, childish, obnoxious, adolescent, smartasses with a bad case of arrested emotional development and a fixation on trying to act macho. In my opinion, Kevin Nash is one of the biggest no-talents that ever stepped in a ring in this business. He's got six moves. No ability and his one talent is that he has enough timing to cover up for some of it. He got into this business because of accidental genetics and because he had a multi-million dollar promotion push him to the moon to make him a star. Then he leaves that promotion, the WWF, after giving his word that he was staying, so he's a liar too. He's had one good match in his career, and he had to pull a guy's wooden leg off to do that. He's made his entire living out of being a backstage manipulator. As far as Scott Hall goes, Scott Hall is a good wrestler. Good's about it, but he's the best of the bunch. He had the same multi-million dollar promotional company make him a star after he'd been in this business close to ten years without putting three asses in a seat. As a human being, he's about the quality as Nash in terms of honesty and/or integrity. Which means, if they tell you the sun is going to come up tomorrow, go out and by a flashlight. You're going to need it. As far as Syxx goes, he had a job because he carries the other guys' bags and they think he's cute when he gets drunk and throws up on himself. And that's the entire reason he's employed. He has the distinction of being, in case anyone hasn't noticed, the only guy on either side of the wrestling war to have been released from a valid wrestling contract to go and join the other side, which shows how valuable he is. For these guys to go out and try to make an ass out of Arn Anderson is ridiculous. He's one of the best talents to ever work in this business. He didn't get to be a star by having a multi-million dollar promotion behind him. He did it with talent, hard work and with putting asses in seats. Not going and whining to the boss. Not acting like a movie star, but by going out and getting matches and talent over. That was what was right for business, and as a business man, you could depend on him because he was honest and took pride in what he did. There's not one of those jackasses that could launder his jockstrap, and the one thing that remains above all else in my opinion is that no matter who gets the last promo, or who gets the biggest contract, or who hangs out with the boss, they're never going to be able to change the fact that Arn Anderson was just plain better at what he did then they'll ever be on their best night, and that is non-negotiable. I'm sure Arn Anderson and Ric Flair are upset, and I wouldn't blame them if they did either one of two things, either quit or took a baseball bat to someone's kneecaps. The only reason the NWO guys are in the position that they are in right now is because Eric Bischoff, even more than being a mark for his own face and voice, is a mark for hanging out with studly guys with long hair that smoke cigars and ride Harleys, so maybe some of that can rub off on his little pansy ass frame, so he throws a billionaires money around to prove that his johnson is bigger than the guys what put their own money on the line."

- Cornette later did this same rant (with a few lines changed) later on Raw when they were airing his weekly shoot promos. But the original one happened on the Byte This show when it was still just an audio show. And the Raw one doesn't have the awesome Konnan diss. But here it is anyway.

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Heenan in the nwo might have actually breathed some life into it. A heel manager Heenan is absolute gold.
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7 months later Cornette’s line about Syxx comes true again.

I think he was better utilized and leveraged when he was with HHH’s DX.

- The main story is that the new Pride promotion in Japan (which will feature Nobuhiko Takada vs. Rickson Gracie next week) has also signed UFC fighters Dan Severn and Gary Goodridge to fight on the show. This has thrown UFC's next PPV (which was to be headlined by Severn 6 days later) into chaos. UFC had met with Pride to discuss helping each other but UFC feels like Pride then turned around and stabbed them in the back. If Severn gets injured in the fight, it would destroy UFC's PPV main event 6 days before the show (and yup, that's exactly what happened. Severn got injured in the Pride fight and had to pull out of UFC). So in the event Severn is hurt, UFC is putting together a back-up plan just in case (good thing they did). Dave goes into all the reasons why Severn chose to take a major fight in Japan 6 days before a UFC title shot and whether it's a good decision or not and UFC's reaction and yada yada. But, yanno....MMA, not wrestling. So moving on.

- FMW in Japan drew one of their largest crowds in company history, thanks to help from WWF and AJPW. The show drew somewhere between 40,000-50,000 people depending on who you believe. Along with all the usual FMW matches, the show also featured Ken Shamrock vs. Vader in a worked shoot-style "Ultimate Fight rules cage match." However, Shamrock is still dealing with lung issues and on a bump early in the match (when Vader powerbombed him), Shamrock began coughing up blood again. WWF representative Bruce Prichard was at ringside and immediately called for the men to finish the match because they don't want Shamrock getting hurt on a non-WWF show. So the match was stopped while doctors rushed in to check on Shamrock. Word is FMW paid WWF around $100,000 to be able to use both Shamrock and Vader on the show. Also at the event, AJPW wrestlers stole the show with Kenta Kobashi & Maunukea Mossman vs. Hayabusa & Jinsei Shinzaki having what many called one of the greatest wrestling matches of all time. Dave hasn't seen it so who knows if that's actually true. It was actually the second match of the day for most of those men, as they had worked an AJPW show earlier in the afternoon. (this match was never released on video so Dave never rated it but there's fan-footage of it if you want to judge for yourself).

- Atsushi Onita is still claiming he is working with WWF to attempt to do one of his exploding ring bomb matches in the U.S. Onita has had this dream for more than a year, but as of yet it hasn't taken place. If it does, it will almost certainly have to be at an outdoor arena because Dave doesn't think any of the major indoor arenas that WWF runs will allow that to happen. And WWF is strongly against running outdoor arenas due to the potential weather and lighting issues.

- Dave discusses some changes to the Observer Newsletter. With the industry growing and so much news coming out, it's become nearly impossible to pack everything into a 12-page issue. As it is, he's already been editing each issue down to 12 pages every week, which requires cutting necessary info. So reluctantly, Dave is increasing the weekly issues to 14-16 pages (depending on how busy the week is) which will also require a small price increase due to the extra printing and mailing costs. Which means....my work just got a little harder in recapping these.

- There's rumors that Nobuhiko Takada may be dealing with some sort of stomach injury, only a week away from his big Pride fight against Rickson Gracie. But there's also speculation that he may be faking the injury in advance so that he will have an excuse if (when) Gracie kicks his ass.

- Nothing much new on the USWA front. Jerry Lawler and Larry Burton have still been unable to get their video equipment, so they aired another clip show on TV this week. Several house shows were also cancelled. The Memphis TV station that airs USWA is reportedly staying out of the legal mess, but if USWA can't tape a new show within the next week or two, they're expected to just cancel wrestling on their network entirely, which would almost certainly be the final nail in the coffin for USWA (yup).

- An indie MMA show in Canada was scheduled to air on Canadian PPV this week but was cancelled after a bunch of backlash from the usual people who are trying to kill the sport. Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle was scheduled to be one of the judges but now the show is cancelled so that won't be happening.

- The family of Eric Kulas have pressed charges against New Jack for assault and battery and assault with a deadly weapon stemming from the Mass Transit Incident last November. But the charges have already been thrown out and it was deemed the case would be better served as a civil suit rather than with criminal charges. The Kulas family hasn't filed a civil suit against ECW yet but it's expected that they will soon. Dave doesn't know how this case will go because Kulas has made a lot of really dumb statements in the media since it happened which could hurt his case. But of course, if the tape of the incident is played in front of a jury, that might be all it takes since the footage is so horrifying.

- Both Tommy Dreamer and Sandman have been unable to work recent ECW shows due to injury. Dreamer has a deep heel bruise and banged up shoulder. Sandman's back injury still hasn't healed, but they did an angle where Sabu threw fire in his face to explain why he's not wrestling and he came out with bandages on his eyes. Speaking of eyes, Sabu recently suffered a detached retina and was told he'd need surgery. But in typical Sabu fashion, he's just wearing an eyepatch until match time, then taking it off and going to wrestle anyway.

- Terry Funk was inducted into the West Texas A&M school's Hall of Fame. He was a lineman for the school's football team in the 60s. Terry joins his brother Dory who was also inducted several years ago.

- At a recent ECW show, Bam Bam Bigelow threw Spike Dudley into the crowd from the ring (similar to the spot he did on the last PPV) but this time, the fans picked up Spike and body surfed him around the entire arena.

- The story with Justin Credible/Aldo Montoya is that he's still under WWF contract until August 98, but he's trying to get out of his deal so he can sign with ECW. So far, WWF hasn't released him but Paul Heyman is working to make it happen. WWF's concern is they don't want to have a young talent like Credible leave WWF, go to ECW and become a hot star, and then have him jump to WCW.

- WCW Injury Report: Kevin Nash had surgery on his knee and is expected to be back around late November. Ric Flair is expected back in early November from...something? I guess the cosmetic face surgery that was mentioned a few weeks ago. Dean Malenko suffered a back injury last week and has missed house shows ever since. Scott Hall has been on crutches all week for some reason but is expected to work Halloween Havoc. The situation with Hall is suspicious because he reportedly had an argument with one of the WCW executives and soon after, he mysteriously came down with an unexplainable back injury and showed up on crutches claiming he couldn't work.

- Bill Goldberg wrestled his second match on Nitro, getting an "upset" win over Barbarian, who looked less than pleased about having to put him over. Goldberg has potential but this match was bad.

- Just to show how much of a disorganized mess WCW is lately, they have been airing ads for the next 2 months of house shows advertising the Four Horsemen vs. the NWO. But on Nitro this week, Ric Flair disbanded the Horsemen so that group is done, and now all the promotional material and plans for the next 2 months of house show main events has to be scrapped and redone.

- Nitro continues to kill Raw in the ratings. In fact, this week, after Nitro went off the air, Raw's second hour numbers actually decreased. The whole idea of changing the Raw time slot was that they would have their 2nd hour unopposed, with hopes that WCW fans would switch to Raw after Nitro ended. But not only is that not happening, but Raw's normal viewers seem to be tuning out also. Meanwhile, Nitro, going head to head with both Raw and Monday Night Football, is still doing phenomenal numbers.

- On Nitro a couple weeks ago, they did an angle where Scott Hall beat up referee Mark Curtis. The angle was done to write Curtis (real name Brian Hildebrand) off TV because he was recently diagnosed with stomach cancer. He underwent a nearly 5 hour surgery last week in which they removed his spleen and much of his stomach. It's believed the surgery was successful in removing all of the cancer and he should be back to work as soon as he heals up (sadly, not so much. He passed away about 2 years later, but we'll get to all that).

- New York Post writer Phil Mushnick wrote a column this week saying that Ted Turner should help all the children in the U.S. by cancelling WCW. He criticized the company for promoting physical abuse of women, sexual harassment, terrorism (bwah?), negative ethnic and racial stereotypes, homophobia, vandalism, graphic violence....and Dennis Rodman. Dave breaks down each of these. Abuse of women is more ECW. Sexual harassment is more WWF. Terrorism is also WWF, somehow. Racial stereotyping is definitely more WWF. Homophobia seems to be toned down across the board lately. Graphic violence is more ECW. The only thing he gives Mushnick credit on is Dennis Rodman who, yes, is more WCW than anything else.

- On Raw this week, Shawn Michaels and Helmsley were basically acting like total juvenille smart-asses, which was sorta hilarious but the act seems to be getting them a lot of heat backstage. Speaking of Shawn, after the incident a few weeks ago where he stuffed a sock down his shorts and cut a promo cursing at Undertaker, he was fined by Vince McMahon.

- Ahmed Johnson is injured yet again. This time, he tore a tendon and some nerves in his hand when he hit an exposed nail on a table outside the ring at a house show. He needs surgery on the hand. Johnson was supposed to face Owen Hart in the finals of the IC title tournament but that's out the window now and Faarooq took his place.

- Brian Pillman had another "XXX Files" segment with Marlena with the 2 of them in bed together while she looked unhappy to be there as he made a bunch of sexual references (this turned out to be Pillman's last TV appearance).

- During the main event segment on Raw, the crowd chanted "Shawn is gay!" which led to Shawn turning and kissing Hemlsley. The show was taped so they edited that off before it aired. Speaking of, Dave basically says that Shawn, Helmsley, and Chyna are the new backstage "clique" that everyone dislikes.

- Don Callis will be brought in as the manager of the Truth Commission group. The former manager, a guy named The Commandant, is actually from South Africa and was having issues with his visa. Plus, they want the manager to be able to take bumps and the original manager was an older guy who was an actor with no wrestling experience. Callis has been wrestling on the indies for awhile and can take bumps.

- Olympic silver medalist Matt Ghaffari has not yet signed a WWF deal, though it's expected he will soon. Same goes for Taka Michinoku.

- Letters section is mostly people bitching about the NWO parody of Arn Anderson's retirement and how Anderson has more talent in his pinky than Nash has ever shown and how he deserves more respect than that and yada yada.
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Pride never die
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its interesting reading about hbk and how he comes off as such a douche in th newletters and im like "how did i like this guy back in the day" then i watch an episode of raw from this time and ill be like "oh ya cuz he was hilarious"
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He was pilled out of his mind and bitter about it.
To top it off Bret was being Bret and thinking HE was the top dog when he clearly didn’t move the needle much, if at all and was a dick to HBK the whole time.
No Rewind post today. The next issue is all about Brian Pillman's death and turns out tomorrow is actually the 20th anniversary of his death. So today is postponed and I'll do it tomorrow so they line up.
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man, that nWo/Horsemen parody ranks as one of my favorite skits in pro wrestling history. i understand flair/arn/cornette/etc being upset about it, but it was so goddamn funny. my friends and i still do the "not my dog spot, liver spot" quote regularly.

also, i may be wrong, but i don't think Severn got injured in his Pride match (vs. Kimo Leopoldo). Probably it was during training or something, because nothing happens in that match. nothing. it's so fucking boring. even the japanese fans are booing that atrocity.
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[+] 1 user Likes twiztor's post

- Brian Pillman has passed away at age 35. Dave actually starts the issue with a personal note, saying Brian Pillman was one of the few people in the business he actually considered a friend and he was devastated when he found out he had died. He says Pillman was one of the funniest people he knew. Dave says he's been doing the Observer for 15 years and this is the hardest issue he's ever had to write.

- Pillman's death appears to have been from a heart attack in his sleep, although it's thought prescription drugs may have played a part. Until toxicology results come back, no one knows for sure. WWF learned of Pillman's death shortly before the Badd Blood PPV went on the air. Vince McMahon announced Pillman's death on the pre-show, and everyone on the roster basically had to try and put their grief on hold for a few hours to get through the show. Some of those who knew Pillman are said to have not been surprised and said that scary warning signs had been there for awhile. His body was found around 1pm in his bed in hotel room in Bloomington, MN. There were several bottles of prescription pills, muscle relaxers, and pain killers, along with an empty beer bottle. Pillman was known to rely heavily on painkillers after his car accident last year where his ankle was destroyed and he dealt with severe pain every day, but he often tried to hide it. His in-ring ability was obviously hindered after the accident which frustrated Pillman because he prided himself on his ability. Just getting through airports was painful for him, which is why WWF often kept his matches short, because he was working through constant pain. Dave talks about how he was such a student of the business that he studied tapes of old wrestlers to pick up their mannerisms and how he memorized Lou Thesz's book and then went out on his own to try to verify all the anecdotes in the book. The night before his death, Pillman worked a house show in St. Paul and reportedly was sleeping on the floor of the dressing room during the show and looked to be in bad shape. He went back to his hotel room around 10:45pm after having some drinks with other wrestlers and left an answering machine message for his wife, and that's the last anyone heard from him.

- The next day, both Pillman and Bret Hart were late getting to the arena for the PPV. They assumed the 2 guys were on a late flight, but when Hart eventually showed up without Pillman, they became concerned due to the knowledge that he had a painkiller problem. They called his house 30 minutes before the pre-show and his wife Melanie hadn't heard anything. Soon after, police showed up to her house and broke the news to her, and when she heard the news, she fainted. Soon after, a WWF official called the hotel and got word that Pillman had been found dead. Pillman had been in the middle of an angle that was planned to end with Marlena leaving Goldust for him but of course, the angle has now been completely dropped and Goldust and Marlena weren't on Raw the next night.

- The whole thing is one of Vince McMahon's worst nightmares: a major star dying on his watch, possibly due to drugs, and he had to go on live TV 30 minutes before a PPV and announce it. From here, Dave goes on a tangent about the drug culture in the business and said most people have suspected that it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. Of course, the nightmare is worse for Pillman's family. He left behind a wife and 5 children, with another on the way. His wife had just found out she was pregnant and hadn't even told Pillman yet. Both Raw and Nitro the next night acknowledged Pillman's death. WCW only had a brief mention, but WWF held a 10-bell salute and also did a controversial live interview with Pillman's wife Melanie. She had been hesitant to go on the air and do the interview but she felt loyalty to the company her husband worked for and she reportedly wanted to warn others of the dangers of drugs. Dave is hesitant to criticize the segment given the emotional state of everyone involved and maybe the best decisions weren't made, but teasing the interview throughout the show to build ratings rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. But Melanie Pillman gave a good interview with a very emotional and heartfelt message (we'll hear more about this in the coming days).

- From here, Dave goes into the usual long and detailed obituary of Brian Pillman. It covers his health problems as a child, resulting in 30+ throat surgeries, his unlikely football career (considered too small, but still made it to the NFL and played for the Bengals), and then his early wrestling career with Stampede in Canada, then jumping to WCW, the Hollywood Blonds team with Steve Austin, and his personal life (he had tumultuous relationships with multiple women). One of his baby mamas had a drug problem and at one point disappeared and was feared dead and Pillman was freaking out because he was the police's main suspect and he began to fear he'd get arrested for something he didn't do. They eventually found her a few weeks later in Florida, fucked up on drugs, and she later killed herself. Pillman developed the loose cannon gimmick and worked everyone in the entire business except for a small handful of people who knew the truth. He also managed to work Eric Bischoff into legitimately firing him as part of an angle, and then Pillman went to ECW and then got WWF and WCW into a bidding war for him. But just before signing with WWF, Pillman was in a bad car accident that destroyed his ankle and likely should have ended his in-ring career. Dave covers the gun angle, Pillman's return to the ring, and how he worked in constant pain until the very end. Dave talks about how Jim Ross had ordered Pillman to take a drug test several weeks ago, which infuriated Pillman because he had never gone to the ring drugged up "like another top star" had been doing recently (cough*Shawn*cough). He refused to take the test and said he was being singled out and requested his release from WWF. His marriage was falling apart during these last few weeks as well, as his wife filed for divorce and got a restraining order against him, which he violated at one point, requiring him to go to anger management classes. But they reconciled shortly before his death. Pillman eventually took the drug test, which showed prescription pain killers and trace amounts of steroids, which he had apparently used to speed up the healing of his ankle. But because the steroids were such a small amount and can remain in the system for months, he wasn't suspended. Soon after, he was dead.

- WCW's Mark Madden wrote an article for WCW's website and also asked if it could be printed in the Observer. Dave says it's a great piece and publishes it in full. It's long so I won't paste it here, but it's a great read. In fact, this whole issue is. The obituary, the story of his passing, all of it is some of Dave's best writing. This one's worth digging into the archives for and reading in full if you're a subscriber. Anyway, finally on to other news...

- Michinoku Pro announced that they will be suspending operations early next year. The company has been operating heavily in debt for awhile. Top star and promoter Great Sasuke also announced he will be having major knee surgery which will keep him out of action for most of 1998. When he's able to return to the ring, it's believed he will likely restart the promotion. Michinoku Pro was formed in 1993 and has slowly grown in Japan. It's believed one of their other top stars, Taka Michinoku, will likely be heading to WWF soon.

- WMC-TV in Memphis announced this week that they are cancelling USWA's TV show. It's no surprise to anyone following the story because the legal issues around USWA's ownership aren't going away and until the legal mess is cleared up, the company can't run shows anyway. This is pretty much the end of the road for the last surviving promotion of the territory era. In it's place, local promoter Bert Prentice has started a new promotion in the Tennessee area, using several of USWA's stars and surprisingly, the new promotion is getting funding from Jerry Jarrett. It's called Music City Wrestling and it's expected that they will be taking over many of USWA's syndication deals.

- The biggest behind-the-scenes controversy in UFC history has unfolded due to fighter Mark Hall claiming he threw his fight against Don Frye in the 1996 Ultimate Ultimate tournament. Dave says it was fairly well known (and he even quotes himself from last year's Observer recap saying that it looked like the fight was thrown). Hall has now confirmed it, saying Frye asked him to throw the fight and that he agreed after Frye agreed to pay him, but says Frye never paid. Frye, of course, is denying all of this. It's a big black eye on UFC, which has to protect its credibility to be taken seriously, and if this is true, it certainly means the end of both Hall and Frye ever stepping foot in a UFC octagon again (indeed, they never did).

- WWF held its latest PPV, Badd Blood, last week under the cloud of Brian Pillman's death. Dave says it's hard for him to give an assessment of the show because everyone's work was affected and Dave was in no mood to really pay close attention. He only rates one match: Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker in the Hell In A Cell match, which Dave says is an all-time classic and gives it the full 5 stars, with Shawn working his ass off to make the match. It also featured the debut of Kane (spelled correctly finally!) which is Glenn Jacobs ("with lifts in his boots" to make him appear taller) who tombstoned Undertaker to cost him the match. Dave says it's a must-see classic. So let's see it.

- Other notes from the show: they brought out a few of the Mexican minis wrestlers to fill the time that had been planned for Brian Pillman's match. Several of the wrestlers looked like they mentally wanted to be anywhere other than where they were. A lot of wrestlers (Vader, Davey Boy Smith, Patriot) were all working injured. Vader had a broken nose and bad elbow, Davey Boy Smith's knee is still messed up, and Patroit had a viral infection so severe that he was hospitalized before the show and had to get fluids through an IV just before working the match.

- Kenta Kobashi is working injured and doctors have told him he needs to take a long time off to rehab some knee injuries, but he's Kobashi, so of course he's ignoring them and working anyway.

- Atsushi Onita has "quit" FMW to form his own promotion called ZEN. But it's apparently an angle ala WCW/NWO and ZEN is just another promotion under the FMW umbrella. But they will be trying to run their own shows and eventually build up to an interpromotional angle (this didn't get over at all and eventually died a quiet death).

- Billy Jack Haynes resurfaced on the wrestling scene after pretty much disappearing off the face of the earth 7 months ago. Word is Haynes was pretty much driven into hiding because he's accumulated a lot of gambling debts and had some bad dudes looking for him.

- Taz has agreed to stay with ECW through the end of 1998 after having some recent discussions with Eric Bischoff. Taz's ECW contract expires at the end of this year and he met with Eric Bischoff earlier this week. Bischoff made Taz an offer, but Taz didn't like it so he went back to Paul Heyman and agreed to stay with ECW. This led to Bischoff making Taz a much better offer which he almost took, but after discussing it with his family, Taz decided to stay with ECW. The travel was the main reason, since he would only be working 100 days or so per year in ECW and most of the shows are within driving distance of his home. In WCW, it'd be closer to 200 days a year and almost none of them would be close to home. In an AOL chat, Eric Bischoff denied ever talking to Taz, but Dave knows for a fact he did.

- Jeff Jarrett's WCW contract expired this week. They had offered him $300,000 per year to stay but he turned it down and word is he's probably done with WCW and may be returning to WWF. This didn't stop WCW from foolishly running an angle on Nitro and promoting a Jarrett vs. McMichael match for next week, which pretty much has to be cancelled now that Jarrett won't be there.

- On Nitro, Scott Hall did a bit where he jokingly faked a back injury during a match with Hector Garza. This is actually a reference to real life, since Hall has been claiming his back is injured for a couple of weeks now, but people backstage have been thinking he faked it, so he's making a joke about that.

- Ric Flair ("with his new face") made his return to Nitro to a huge reaction and chased Curt Hennig out of the arena. Dave says it was probably the best finish to an episode of Nitro in the show's history.

- Former Vince McMahon strangler Nailz worked a dark match before the Nitro taping against Yuji Nagata that was said to be off-the-charts terrible.

- For the first time in months, WWF won a quarter-hour segment of the ratings war against Nitro with the opening of the show. Undoubtedly, curiousity about Brian Pillman's death and how Raw would treat it was what drew the strong opening rating.

- The plan is for Disco Inferno to face (and lose against) Jacquelyn at the Halloween Havoc PPV but there was some concern that they might not be able to do the match because the Nevada State Athletic Commission had some issues with it. But they discussed it and agreed to some certain stipulations and the match is a go. It'll probably be more of an angle than an actual match, but expect Disco to do the job since that was a condition of getting his job back.

- On Raw, Michaels and Helmsley showed the fan-footage from the famous Curtain Call incident last year and made fun of Vince McMahon and basically just broke kayfabe left and right. Then Bret Hart came out and called Michaels and Helmsley "homos" and said he made more money than them combined. Bret then said he ran Diesel and Razor out of the company and called them Shawn's boyfriends. Shawn said don't confuse them leaving with expansion, basically saying the Kliq is taking over both companies, which isn't entirely false.

- Marc Mero returned to TV with a new gimmick, where he has short hair and basically does a boxer gimmick that destroys whatever charisma he has. Dave thinks the gimmick sucked.

- Jim Cornette went on Raw and did an almost word-for-word repeat of his Byte This promo from last week where he ripped on WCW, NWO, and Eric Bischoff. Dave thinks it was fun TV but doesn't see the purpose in it since it doesn't really advance any storylines or help the company make money. It's just a segment where they burn valuable TV time shitting on the competition. The idea is for Cornette to cut weekly "shoot" promos like this.

- WWF Injury Report: Ken Shamrock has both a lung infection and a bruised lung, but he's expected to be back soon. Ahmed Johnson will be out for about a month after hand surgery. Steve Austin is meeting with a doctor this week and is expected to be cleared to return to the ring.
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It's a big black eye on UFC, which has to protect its credibility to be taken seriously, and if this is true, it certainly means the end of both Hall and Frye ever stepping foot in a UFC octagon again (indeed, they never did).

That's more incidental than anything else. In 1997, the UFC was in no shape to ban anyone from anything. Frye stopped fighting in 97 because he made more money wrestling. He returned to MMA for PRIDE in 2001 because they paid better. By the time the UFC was the premier MMA org(05/06ish) Frye was washed up but without the mainstream name of other has beens like Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock to be brought back.

And Mark Hall was never anybody.
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Next Friday and the date of this publishing are the 20 years anniversary of DX; 10/13/97.
Next Friday is the Screwjob issue.
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[+] 1 user Likes Peezy's post

- There's been a lot of fallout from the death of Brian Pillman, mostly from everyone using his death to push their own agendas. The biggest controversy has come from the live interview with Pillman's wife Melanie that aired on Raw the day after he died, which in hindsight was undoubtedly a terrible idea. It came off as exploitive, with some of the questions seemingly meant to get close-ups of her crying. The idea for the interview stemmed from McMahon speaking with Melanie Pillman the night before, where she talked about wanting to warn other wrestlers and their families about drug use so no one else would suffer a similar fate. McMahon wanted to put her on television so she could give that warning but it just didn't come across well. The fact that they hyped the interview during the show was an obvious attempt to garner ratings from it. Dave is willing to cut McMahon and the WWF a lot of slack though, because while there were a lot of bad decisions and errors in judgement, those decisions were made by people under a lot of emotional stress.

- New York Post writer Phil Mushnick was also criticized for exploiting Pillman's death, using it to write another of his anti-wrestling articles and trying to link Pillman's death to steroids, which appear to have had no part in it. This led to WWF putting Jim Cornette on TV this week to cut a promo on Phil Mushnick, which was also then criticized as using Pillman's death to further promote themselves and to fight Mushnick. Dave doesn't agree with Mushnick's desire to abolish the entire wrestling industry but he does admit that Mushnick's writing usually has validity and that he's arguably one of the biggest people responsible for the business cleaning up its steroid issues in the early 90s because he railed so hard against it in the media. And the high number of deaths in wrestling IS a legit problem that Mushnick is right to be concerned about. But Cornette's promo about Mushnick also had some validity, but not entirely. When it comes to the steroid argument, WWF would probably be wise to not re-open that can of worms and get into a public fight with Mushnick.

- With Pillman's death, a lot of people want to point the blame at WWF. Should they have put him on the road full-time in his condition? In hindsight, no. But Pillman publicly tried to hide how much pain he was in because he wanted to work. Should WWF have sent him to rehab? Yes they should have tried but Pillman probably would have quit the company before going. Maybe they could have kept him out of the ring as a manager or commentator but Pillman prided himself on his athletic ability and he wanted to wrestle. Dave says it's easy to point the blame at WWF if you don't understand the business or the mindset of most pro wrestlers, but Dave doesn't blame WWF for this.

- While talking about Pillman's career and life, he says you can't dismiss a lot of the darker stuff. His wild behavior and drug use left him estranged from a lot of friends and caused marital problems with his wife. Dave also recounts a story from Pillman's college years when Pillman was a senior, and he had sex with a girl who was hanging upside down from a pullup bar wearing gravity boots while the rest of the football team watched. Pillman used to write letters to Penthouse magazine telling of his sexcapades and they would get published and while most people thought his crazy sex stories were a work, people that knew him vouched that they were true.

- Pillman's funeral was held last week in Cincinnati, mostly limited to family and friends that were invited, but only a few people from the business. Bruce Hart, Joey Maggs, Eric Bischoff, Les Thatcher, and a few others. There was a private wake the night before, which Vince McMahon and Jim Ross attended. But that seems to be it, as far as Dave knows. That....seems weird. I would have figured most of the industry would have come out for Pillman's funeral.

- The first ever Pride show took place in Japan, featuring the long-awaited Nobuhiko Takada vs. Rickson Gracie fight. Takada, former star of UWFI, had been wanting a legit shootfight against Gracie for years and he finally got it. It didn't go well for him, as Gracie destroyed him in less than 5 minutes. For years in UWFI, Takada was the top star, winning worked shoot matches and turning the promotion into one of the hottest groups in the wrestling business. He built up a rep for himself as the best fighter in the world and a lot of people bought it. But this wasn't a worked fight and the crowd (99% wrestling fans) were let down after watching Takada get exposed and get basically no offense against Gracie. And finally, Dan Severn was indeed injured in his fight for Pride in Japan and now has to pull out of UFC's PPV 6 days before the show. He will be replaced by Tank Abbott. As for UFC, they're pretty pissed at Severn about this whole thing so it's unlikely he ever gets another shot at fighting for them.

- Business is so bad for AAA right now that some of the midcard guys have been getting paid $11 dollars for shows, which Dave says makes Jerry Jarrett look like Santa Claus (Jarrett is notoriously cheap).

- Michinoku Pro held their biggest show of the year due to some help from WWF and ECW. Undertaker worked the show, managed by Bruce Prichard. Sunny and Chris Candido also worked the show. Undertaker faced Jinsei Shinzaki who used his old WWF gimmick (Hakushi) for this show.

- Akira Hokuto has vacated the WCW women's championship due to injuries. Not so anyone would notice, since not even WCW seems to remember that they have a women's title.

- USWA is still in limbo. There was supposed to be a court date on the matter this week but it was postponed. Once the entire deal is settled, WMC-TV in Memphis is reportedly willing to put them back on the air, but until then, they're off TV. USWA booker Dutch Mantel is now booking for WWC in Puerto Rico and has brought some of the USWA wrestlers with him.

- At this year's Cauliflower Alley Club banquet, Fred Blassie gave a speech and ranted against WCW. He said that since WCW has a wrestling school, Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall should go to it so they can learn how to wrestle.

- Lou Thesz recently had eye surgery to remove cataracts.

- For those who remember Incredibly Strange Wrestling, they're still around. Some of the new gimmicks are Le Femme Nikita Koloff (a Russian doing a gay gimmick), The Dianetic Death Squad and Los Papparazzis.

- Paul Heyman and Tod Gordon are still reportedly on cordial terms and are still talking but Heyman has said there is no chance Gordon will return to the company. They seem to be working together to make the transition easier. For instance, the old number for ECW ticket information went to a jewelry store that Gordon owned, so Heyman has gotten a new phone number. In the meantime, Gordon is still forwarding messages from the old line over to Heyman. So the split seems amicable enough.

- Jeff Jarrett's WCW contract has expired and there's a lot of rumors that he's WWF-bound. Jeff's father Jerry had been handling the WCW negotiations and Bischoff felt he had been negotiating in the media. Basically, going around to the various dirtsheets, giving interviews, etc. and saying things to try to get Bischoff to raise his offer. Dave agrees with Bischoff. That pretty much pissed off Bischoff and he pulled the $300,000-per-year offer from the table and basically told the Jarretts to go get fucked. Dave says Bischoff has been playing hardball a lot lately with people's contracts. WCW is in a really powerful position right now and he feels he doesn't have to get into bidding wars over people.

- Rey Misterio Jr. is facing Eddie Guerrero in a title vs. mask match and the plan is for Misterio to lose his mask. Dave thinks it's a terrible idea and so does basically everyone else, especially the other Mexicans and those who understand the importance of it. For starters, Misterio looks like a teenager without his mask. Dave thinks it's at least 2 years too early to unmask Mysterio. If they build him up and take their time with it and spend the time educating fans on how important the mask is, it could be huge when/if Misterio is finally unmasked. But doing it this soon is a terrible idea (we'll hear a lot more about this).

- Several people were backstage at Nitro, most of them presumably looking for work. Dan Spivey ("looking 100 years older than he did as Waylon Mercy"), Brian Blair, Jimmy Del Rey, Siva Afi, Lanny Poffi, Steve Keir, Ed Leslie, and baseball star Wade Boggs, may he rest in peace.

- Dave once again says this Bill Goldberg guy shows a ton of potential. He's scheduled to face Meng at an upcoming PPV.

- WCW announcers were specifically told not to mention Brian Pillman's death on TV, supposedly due to all the lawsuit issues between WWF and WCW. They did air a graphic at the beginning of Nitro about Pillman.

- Ric Flair may not be able to wrestle at Halloween Havoc. His face is still very tender from the facial surgery he had and he has to be careful not to get hit.

- On Raw, Shawn Michaels and Hunter Hearst Helmsley cut a promo, giving themselves the name Degeneration X. On the same show, Rockabilly turned on Honky Tonk Man and formed a tag team with the Roadie.

- Also on Raw, Vince McMahon decided to talk shit about the movie No Holds Barred, talking about how much money it lost and saying that Hogan promised him that if the movie lost money, he'd pay McMahon back and said he's still waiting on that check. Later in the show, the Legion of Doom also cut a promo and ripped on Hogan and Savage.

- Steve Austin was cleared to wrestle by doctors this week, but the news wasn't all good. The doctor told him that he's still risking paralysis if he ever takes another bump like the one from Owen Hart at Summerslam. So you probably won't see Austin ever taking a piledriver again.

- Taka Michinoku STILL hasn't signed with WWF but he's expected to soon. WCW is making a play to try to get him as well but he's likely going with WWF.

- Yokozuna is said to be down to around 500 pounds and will be back on the road in November (nope).

- WWF has agreed to let AJPW use the Blackjacks (Bradshaw and Barry Windham) in their upcoming tag team tournament. Dave doesn't know what AJPW is thinking unless the plan is to purposely have bad matches on the shows.

- Eric Bischoff has been in a public war of words with Jim Ross this week. Bischoff said the best thing for WCW would be for Jim Ross to stay with WWF. He also said Ross called him up looking for a job awhile back. On the WWF Hotline, Jim Ross confirmed that he had called Bischoff about a job but it was waaaaay back before he was brought back by WWF. Ross also said that he and Bischoff had promised each other to keep the discussion confidential and off the record and that Bischoff going public with it shows what kind of person he is.

- As you'd expect, the letters section is a lot of people writing in about Brian Pillman. And pretty much universal disgust at Vince McMahon for dragging Pillman's wife out on TV 24 hours after her husband died, milking it the entire show for ratings, and then asking her really fucked up questions like "how will you and your 5 children be able to go on?" as they zoomed in on her that seemed designed to try and get footage of her crying (yeah if you've never seen this stuff, it's just bizarre. It's one of the more awful and disgusting things McMahon has ever done and seems to have been forgotten over the years).

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- The All Japan Women promotion in Japan filed for bankruptcy this week. The filing lists them as 1.6 billion yen in debt, which is about $13.6 million in American ($14.4 million in 2017 dollars). The owners held a press conference and announced that they hope to continue and plan to keep running shows in 1998, but most people feel that this likely signals the end of the promotion, which is the 3rd oldest in the world (behind EMLL and WWF). Dave gives a brief recap, almost an obituary, for the promotion. A little premature it seems. They stayed alive until 2005.

- Dave recaps the latest UFC PPV, which was highlighted by Randy Couture scoring a huge upset win over Victor Belfort and also by Tank Abbott flat out quitting in the middle of his fight. Dave reviews it all and talks about it, but yanno, it's UFC not wrestling. But I did find this part really interesting, which I'll copy and paste: "Because of the various cable outlets not carrying the event, this show was also broadcast on the Internet for $20. As a test market without a lot of publicity, it drew about 1,000 orders. If the Internet can be viable as a distributor of the shows in the long run, it may mean survival of UFC even without a turnaround within the cable industry. But there is no guarantee of enough people willing to spend money to buy the signal through their computer or how long it'll take before such technology becomes viable to the masses."

- WCW broke their all-time gate record again this week, but this time they did it for a show that's still over a month away. The upcoming World War III PPV in November, with no matches announced, has already sold over $9,000 tickets in advance for over $306,000+ gate. It's the first time WCW has ever broken the $300k mark for a show and considering it's sold this much so far in advance is just beyond amazing.

- Shane Douglas lost the ECW title to Bam Bam Bigelow, to set up a rematch which is expected to headline ECW's November To Remember PPV. The decision to go this direction was a recent one, because up until a couple of weeks ago, they were still discussing other possible opponents for Douglas at the show. There had been discussions of bringing in Jeff Jarrett, Cactus Jack, and even Brian Pillman before he died (the latter 2 would have obviously been on loan from WWF). In fact, last year, Pillman was set to have a feud with Douglas but due to his injuries, the match never happened. Paul Heyman even attempted to get WCW to loan him Ric Flair for the night as part of a settlement over the whole Raven contract situation. Heyman has been talking about filing a lawsuit about that but he still hasn't done it and WCW hasn't really even considered settling with him, so there was no chance they were going to let him use Flair.

- With the Monday night wars still in full swing, Dave decides to take a look at who draws ratings and why. For the last couple of months, Dave has been compiling all the quarter-hour ratings, who was in those segments, and examines how the ratings of a segment rise and fall compared to previous segments which is how you can see who is making people watch and who is making fans change the channel. And just looking at the number, your top ratings draw is.....Disco Inferno. BWAH? He's followed by Piper, Jericho, Steve Austin, and Alex Wright rounding out the top 5. The worst? Scott Hall, followed by the Head Bangers, Jeff Jarrett, The Steiners, and Steve McMichael. But the numbers aren't quite what they seem and Dave goes into explaining it in all the detailed, minute ways. A lot of it depends on the placement on the show. Raw and Monday Night Football both start right as Nitro's second hour is beginning, so that contributes to a ratings drop-off, so whoever is in that segment looks like a bad draw. Stuff like that. It's all complicated and interesting, but Dave also says the numbers don't lie; no matter where he's placed on the show, the ratings increase significantly every time Disco Inferno is on TV and all the different explanations don't fully explain that. Bottom line, Disco Inferno is actually a real draw on TV. Weird but true.

- While we're on the subject, this week's Nitro had its biggest rating ever against Raw, doing a 4.54 rating and seems to have actually drawn viewers away from Monday Night Football. If you add in Raw, which also did a decent (by their standards) rating, it means over 5.3 million homes were watching wrestling that night, which breaks the all-time record for people watching pro wrestling on cable.

- This week, TNT is airing Hulk Hogan's new made-for-TV movie Assault on Devil's Island. WWF has responded by putting together a Survivor Series flashback show, which will just be a highlight show of old Survivor Series clips. WWF has scheduled this show to air twice, both at the same times that Hogan's new movie will be airing. Eric Bischoff was clearly annoyed by this, because he brought it up 3 times on Nitro, saying Vince McMahon is scared of Hogan's new movie. God, I love the pettiness.

- Blue Panther has jumped ship from AAA to EMLL. Fuerza Guerrera and Heavy Metal may be following him, all of which would devastate AAA. Things aren't looking great for them at the moment.

- Atsushi Onita's Zen "promotion" (basically his version of the NWO) within FMW is struggling because nobody is taking it seriously as a separate promotion and the angle seems to be flopping hard.

- The famous Dallas Sportatorium will be torn down in a few weeks, with a drive-through liquor store being built on the property. This has been rumored for awhile and negotiations went on for months. Dave recaps the history of the Sportatorium, which became one of the more famous wrestling buildings in the world in the World Class years (the negotiations ended up going for a lot longer; it wasn't demolished until 2003).

- At the latest ECW Arena show, a fan punched Mikey Whipwreck in the face while he and Bigelow were fighting in the crowd. The fan then ran out of the building to escape. Many wrestlers in the dressing room came out and ran out of the building after him and searched for him in the parking lot. Luckily for the fan, he escaped. Many said it killed the momentum of the show because the whole show basically came to a stop in the middle of the match at that point and people said it was unprofessional for everybody to come out of the locker room like that, which is something you'd never see at a WWF or WCW show.

- At the same show, during a segment with Beulah and Francine in the ring, a woman in the crowd flashed her breasts at the crowd which totally took the crowd out of the angle. Paul Heyman got on the mic and said, "Now we've all seen what a lousy pair looks like."

- Still more outside-the-ring ECW incidents. A teenage girl grabbed Shane Douglas' hair as he was walking by. He turned and spat in her face and she spat back at him. This led to Francine getting into a fight with the girl until security broke it up. By this point, the crowd was about to riot until it was settled. The girl later called the police and claimed Douglas punched her and Douglas was questioned after the show.

- Before a recent ECW show, New Jack told Joel Gertner that he was going to blade him during an angle they had planned. Gertner freaked out and went to Pit Bull #2 about it. PB2 confronted New Jack and they got into a big heated argument, with lots of words being thrown around, including the dreaded N-word. From there, it was reported that New Jack threw some punches at PB2 but he reportedly wasn't fazed by them at all, and then other wrestlers stepped in to break it up. But with so many wrestlers in the locker room reportedly tired of New Jack's shit, they decided to let them go, assuming PB2 would probably beat his ass. So they ended up brawling again, until Paul Heyman came in the room and forced the wrestlers to break them up again. By the next day, New Jack and PB2 had shaken hands and made up, so no harm no foul I guess.

- ECW is planning to bring in California indie wrestler Erin O'Grady for a tryout, and he'll likely work with Spike Dudley (that would be Crash Holly. He had a few dark matches in ECW but didn't get signed).

- On Nitro, Bill Goldberg ("who got a noticeable pop") beat Wrath in 20 seconds. Dave says WWF had the real Ken Shamrock and turned him into just another wrestler, while WCW is attempting to take a no-name rookie and turn him into their own Ken Shamrock.

- Booker T worked a singles match against Lex Luger, due to Stevie Ray being injured. Dave says Booker T has a lot of potential as a singles star.

- Eric Bischoff held a meeting with all the wrestlers before Nitro this week and talked about attending Brian Pillman's funeral and then said he isn't naive enough to think WCW doesn't have a drug problem but said he hasn't personally seen any major examples. Bischoff told the wrestlers that if any of them are dealing with a drug problem, come to him and they will treat it like an injury and help them get treatment and they wouldn't be punished. Dave thinks that's all well and good but points out that both Steve Austin and Ricky Steamboat were fired from WCW while injured so, yanno. Bischoff also pointed out that WWF used the word "ass" 17 times on the most recent Raw and said WCW will be going in the opposite direction and not trying to use so much adult content. He said Syxx can no longer do the bronco buster spot and the NWO guys can no longer do the crotch chop because he wants to differentiate WCW as a cleaner product. Advertisers are already leery of pro wrestling as it is and he thinks WWF's more adult product is going to cause advertising problems for them. He then *guaranteed* WWF would be out of business within 6 months. And then, he said there were only 3 people in the room who had ever put asses in seats: Hogan, Savage, and Piper. As you can imagine, Ric Flair was reportedly furious about that comment (yeah, Flair has talked about this before in interviews and talks about that comment specifically). Bischoff and Flair are currently in the midst of heatedly negotiating Flair's next contract and this was apparently Bischoff's way of hinting to Flair that they don't need him. Flair is definitely considering jumping to WWF, but it's still too early to say if he actually will.

- Rob Van Dam was backstage at WCW's Orlando tapings, but not for any real reason. He just wanted word to get out to help his ECW gimmick.

- Turner is giving WCW an additional $8 million budget increase in 1998 for them to get more talent.

- The Giant is being paired with Rey Misterio Jr. as a tag team and Dave thinks the idea has potential, but Giant is really upset about it, feeling it reduces him to a mid-card comedy character.

- Speaking of Misterio, he's very upset about the plan for him to lose his mask at Halloween Havoc and is fighting to get it changed. He has also hired an agent to handle his WCW contract negotiations and is trying to get his current contract bumped from $200,000 per year to $350,000.

- Former WWF announcer Todd Pettingill is reportedly trying to get hired by WCW.

- WCW nearly released Bobby Eaton and Joey Maggs, but booker Terry Taylor went to bat for them because they've been loyal to the company and are well-liked, so for now their jobs are saved (it worked. Maggs retired in 98 due to injury and Eaton stayed on as an agent until 2000).

- Disco Inferno is expected to start using the Stunner as his finishing move, which is retaliation for WWF giving Marc Mero the diamond cutter as his finisher.

- Steve Austin's doctor has told him he should rehab his neck for another couple of months and then be reevaluated. So he's still not wrestling but he has been doing run-ins and WWF is saying his status is day-to-day. He may not be back for Survivor Series (he was).

- WWF held a press conference to announce the signing of Taka Michinoku for 3 years at $333,000 per year.

- Jeff Jarrett returned to WWF on Raw and cut a shoot promo trashing WCW, saying Bischoff low-balled him on his contract offer, and stuff like that. The live crowd had absolutely no clue what he was talking about. He also tore into Steve and Debra McMichael, but then also went after McMahon for his previous time in WWF and ripped on him too.

- Dave recaps Kane's latest Raw segment and then says, "The Kane gimmick is going to get over huge." Yeah, I'd say so.

- Billy Gunn (formerly Rockabilly) has changed his name to Bad Ass Billy Gunn and formed a team with Jesse Jammes, now going by the name Road Dogg.

- Jim Cornette cut another one of his shoot promos on Phil Mushnick this week and urged people to write letters to the outlets that publish him. After the promo last week, the New York Post received over 1,000 angry letters and emails from wrestling fans and TV Guide got even more than that. Unfortunately, most of the letters just confirmed the negative image of wrestling fans that Mushnick has been pushing, since so many of the letters were just people saying "Suck my dick!" instead of addressing issues. Mushnick himself was said to be upset at Jim Cornette claiming he made fun of Pillman's death, when he most certainly didn't and he was amazed that wrestling fans couldn't realize that it was WWF who was exploiting the death, not him. All in all, Dave thinks that WWF going after Mushnick so aggressively shows that they're scared of what people would find if they investigated the last few months of Pillman's life under WWF's watch, because it would reveal that there's still a serious unaddressed drug problem in WWF. So as Vince McMahon always does, he's portraying himself as the victim of someone having a vendetta against him to divert attention away from the fact that Mushnick is often correct in most of what he says about WWF. He thinks Vince probably should have learned his lesson about that tactic after the steroid scandal, but evidently not.

- Yokozuna recently filmed a Coca Cola commercial (can't find anything about this).

- Aldo Montoya (Justin Credible in ECW) has been given his WWF release and will now start full time with ECW.

- The New York Times ran a story about the Monday night wars and one line said that the TNT network created WCW to compete with WWF when it wasn't carrying Braves games on Monday nights. Dave thinks that line might have set a record for most inaccuracies in a single sentence. The article also acted as if the ratings were neck-and-neck every week, when in reality, WCW has been massacring WWF by huge margins for at the better part of a year.

- Survivor Series in Montreal next month has already sold 10,000+ tickets and is expected to sell out.

- Bret Hart is scheduled to appear on Mad TV this week.

- Most of the letters section is people raving over how great Dave's obituary for Fritz Von Erich was a few weeks ago. Except for one guy who writes in to complain about how the issue spent over 4 pages on Fritz and basically says it's the last straw and if Dave is going to write long obituaries every time someone dies, he's going to cancel his subscription because no one wants to read that shit. "Simply tell us the guy died, what names he wrestled under and a few quick facts about his career. It's hypocritical to go any deeper and I'm not paying for that crap much longer." That person? A guy named Johnny Kashmere, later known as one half of the Backseat Boyz with Trent Acid, who have held the ROH and CZW tag titles.
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Thread is moving slow
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Let's get this bitch to the next page
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Lots of Screwjob stuff coming up this week
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Need the thread moving at peak performance
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See ya on page 5
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