Wrestling Observer Newsletter Rewind Thread • 1997
FYI that ain’t the right MadTV skit...that’s his 2nd one when he was in SPOILER ALERT


Season 3 Episode 6 I believe is the one you are lookjng for. 11/1/97

- WCW Halloween Havoc is in the books and was a typical WCW PPV: great undercard, weak main event, bad finish. In this case, the Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Eddie Guerrero match was arguably the best WCW PPV match in years. The show sold out and set an all-time gate record for WCW, but that record has already been broken by World War III advance ticket sales. The first 3 matches made the show look like it was going to be excellent, and then after match 4, it turned into one of the worst PPVs in years. The main event featured a run-in by a planted "fan" and Dave thinks it's a bad idea because it just encourages that kind of real behavior (the same way throwing trash at the ring has become the popular thing to do in WCW because they encourage it) and someone is going to get hurt. It's also thought that this PPV may end up having the best PPV buyrate of the year, because preliminary numbers are through the roof. But a lot of fans were actually leaving before the Hogan/Piper cage match even started and they were leaving in droves during the post-match angle, which isn't a great sign.

- Other notes from the show: Chris Jericho vs. Gedo was added at the last minute. They had planned to do a Bill Goldberg vs. Meng match but for some reason, that got scrapped so this was put out there to fill the time. Goldberg later did a run-in on the Alex Wright/Steve McMichael match to set up an angle with him and McMichael. Dave gives that match negative stars. Jacquelyn pinned TV champ Disco Inferno in a non-title match that was only there to punish Disco for refusing to do the angle earlier in the year, which led to him being fired for 6 months. Him doing the job here was a condition of him returning. Dave thinks the whole thing is stupid and also devalues the TV title. The cage for the main event was huge and probably the biggest cage used in a wrestling match that Dave has seen, and it was even crazier that Randy Savage jumped off the top of it, at 45 years old and with a bad ankle. He totally botched the spot, but Dave gives him credit for even having the guts to do it. Match was awful though.

- The finish of the Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Eddie Guerrero match was changed literally minutes before the PPV started. The plan had been for Misterio to lose his mask, which Rey was strongly protesting. At one point, Eric Bischoff called up Misterio and told him that if he didn't lose the match, it would be considered a breach of contract and he would fire Misterio and file a lawsuit against him. Misterio is popular and well-liked backstage, so that didn't go over well with much of the locker room. At some point, less than an hour before the show, Misterio and his new agent met with Bischoff and the finish was eventually changed just before the show went on the air, on the condition that Misterio agreed to lose the mask sometime in the future. Anyway, as for the match, it was incredible and Dave says the only reason it's not his match of the year is because it was too short (only about 14 minutes). He gives it 4.75 and if Twitter existed today, people would be harassing him daily about "Why wasn't it 5 stars? If it happened in the Tokyo Dome, you would have given it 5 stars!" and shit, because people are fucking stupid.

- USWA is officially dead. They have lost their Memphis TV deal, which was the most valuable thing the promotion had, as well as all of their other syndication deals in other cities and at this point, USWA exists only as a name on some paper in a lawsuit. Bert Prentice's Windy City Wrestling promotion is taking over many of the syndication deals and will be running in the arenas USWA used to run. Friends close to Jerry Lawler say he has pretty much accepted that the battle is over and that the territory he has been the face of since the 1970s is finally dead. Anyway, whoever ends up with ownership of USWA in this lawsuit is pretty much only going to win a bunch of debt and tax problems, since USWA has tens of thousands in unpaid bills to arenas and TV stations, plus IRS problems because apparently they weren't paying some of their required taxes.

- Funny story about Michinoku Pro star Shiryu, who is one of the top stars in the company. He showed up in Mexico this week and managed to get himself booked on a Promo Azteca show. He gave them a different name and they put him in the opening match because they figured he was a green, no-name Japanese wrestler. But because he's awesome, he went out there and basically stole the show in the first match and then went backstage and told everybody who he really was. So now he's going to be working here full time and probably not in opening matches anymore.

- Atsushi Onita is really pissed off at WWF. For the recent FMW show, they had to pay WWF $100,000 to get Ken Shamrock and Vader to work the show. WWF then turned around and let the Blackjacks work AJPW's tag tournament and AJPW didn't have to pay for them at all. So as you'd expect, Onita is pretty furious about it.

- A Kansas City newspaper had a story about retired wrestler Harley Race who is now working part-time as a process server. The story had anecdotes of people who have tried to avoid being served by him.

- Eric Kulas' family is appealing the ruling that they can't file criminal charges against New Jack for the Mass Transit incident. The hearing is scheduled for January. They still haven't filed a suit against ECW.

- Dave corrects a report from last week, saying that Justin Credible actually still hasn't been released from his WWF contract. Paul Heyman has been trying to get him out of the deal, but Credible is known to be a good friend of Nash, Hall, and Syxx and they're afraid if they release him, he'll just jump straight to WCW. Heyman has assured them that the moment he's released, he'll be signing with ECW. WWF is still weighing their options but hasn't made a decision yet. So he's still under WWF contract for now.

- Nitro this week seemed almost entirely dedicated to plugging Hogan's new made-for-TV movie, which lists Eric Bischoff as an executive producer. WWF announced a Survivor Series highlights show to air against the movie. WCW has responded by trying to schedule the Hogan/Sting contract signing for Starrcade to air during commercials during the movie in order to get people to tune in.

- Eric Bischoff seems to be making an effort to neutralize any power Konnan has over the company in regards to the Mexican wrestlers. In the recaps they've been showing about the history of Mexican wrestling, they were ordered to remove any mention of Konnan even though he's probably the biggest draw in Mexico of the last 10 years. They also aren't pushing any of the luchadors aside from Misterio. WCW is trying to get all the Mexicans to sign exclusive WCW contracts, which would take them away from Promo Azteca (which Konnan is a co-owner of). WCW still wants to put together a Lucha Libre PPV sometime in the future, but they don't want Konnan to have any leverage over them.

- Syxx is out of action with a fractured vertebrae.

- Ric Flair's contract negotiations with WCW haven't been quite as heated as reported and it's considered likely that he will re-sign.

- Paul Roma was at Nitro this week looking for work. He didn't get it. He had another guy with him who he claimed was his cousin Alex Roma and wanted to get them both brought in as a tag team (they end up working a dark match for WWF next month but that's it).

- As of press time, Gorilla Monsoon was in a hospital in Philadelphia and listed in grave condition. His family members were called to get together because there's concern that it may be life-threatening. Monsoon has been in poor health for awhile and suffered a heart attack last week. Word is he needs a heart transplant but they can't do it because he's in such bad shape from diabetes complications. They need to stabilize him before they can consider major heart surgery.

- Steve Austin returned to the ring this week at house shows. The bruised spinal cord injury from the Owen Hart bump has healed as much as it can but he still has other neck issues that are mostly just career-long wear and tear. WWF wants him to modify his in-ring style and not take any dangerous neck bumps and it's likely he'll never be quite the same in-ring worker he used to be.

- The Patriot suffered a tricep tear in a match with Jim Neidhart and needs surgery which should keep him out around 3 months. He's had a history of tricep tears dating back to his years in Japan (unbeknownst to everyone at the time, this was it for him. The match with Neidhart was the last time he ever wrestled and he officially retired after WWF released him).

- Owen Hart suffered a severe concussion in a match with Ahmed Johnson and will be out for a couple of weeks. There was a lot of heat on Johnson for it, since it was basically just a careless kick that did it (fun fact: Hart heads are magnets for careless kicks). Johnson also got into a brief legit fight with D-Lo Brown backstage the night before and in the tussle, he once again re-aggravated his bad knee.

- There's a lot of belief that all of Shawn Michaels' recent antics on TV are a shoot and that he's trying to get fired so he can go to WCW. Not true. Dave says everything he's doing has been approved by McMahon and they're trying to get over the idea that Michaels is basically just out of control and trying to embarrass the company but it's part of a gimmick.

- Still no cause of death report on Brian Pillman from the medical examiner. Also, there have been rumors that Pillman didn't have life insurance, but Dave says he did. It was a small amount, only $135,000 which isn't much in the grand scheme of things for a guy with a wife and 5 kids and one on the way. He reportedly knew he needed more but either hadn't gotten around to it yet or was unable to get it due to health reasons.

- "There is at least some concern internally regarding the long-term status of Bret Hart. Apparently Hart's 20-year contract gives him an out should he decide to give proper notice." That's the only mention of that this week. That story gets a whole lot bigger in the next issue...

- Yokozuna won't be returning. He was scheduled to this week, but he failed the physical tests by the New York athletic commission due to obesity and irregular heartbeat. He reportedly weighs more than 600 pounds, which contradicts what Dave had been told about him being down to 500. Because many commissions honor suspensions from other states, this means Yoko would be unable to wrestle in most of the country. Given that and the recent death of Brian Pillman, WWF isn't going to risk putting someone with potential heart problems back in the ring. So he's done in WWF.

- On Raw, they announced Marlena will be doing a live interview to talk about the 30 days she spent with Pillman. Dave doesn't know how they're going to pull that off without being exploitive. The simple fact that they're doing it as a ratings tease is bad enough, even if she does acknowledge it was a fake wrestling angle. But if they use it to further the Goldust/Marlena split angle, it will be just about the worst taste thing WWF could do (They dance around actually mentioning Pillman's name, but they did indeed talk about all the time she was "away" from her family and whatnot).

- Another one of Cornette's promos aired, this time tearing into Hogan, Piper, and even Shawn Michaels for calling themselves icons. Cornette said Piper was his hero 20 years ago but didn't know when to retire. He said Hogan, even in his prime, was 50% media hype and ripped on their Halloween Havoc cage match. Cornette then turned his attention to WWF and said Bret Hart cries too much, Shawn Michaels is basically a child outside the ring, and said the real icons of wrestler are Undertaker, Steve Austin, and Ric Flair. On the same Raw, Jeff Jarrett also cut another "shoot" promo talking about how he was never given a fair chance in WCW. Dave thinks the complaint would be valid if it was Chris Benoit, but Jarrett was pushed exactly to the level he belongs at in WCW, which is midcard.

- Lots of letters about various things. The most interesting is from a few people who have attended ECW shows and just weren't happy about it. Same as always: everything is a disorganized mess, too crowded, bad security, fans trying to get themselves over, no-shows, etc. Basically people vowing to never spend another dollar on ECW.
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That Ric Flair situation is curious, as Ric and Cornette have both told the story numerous times about how he was minutes from making a surprise appearance at Unforgiven 98 but his lawyer talked him out of it at the last minute.
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Yeah we're still a long way from that. That's during the time when Flair is suspended for no-showing Thunder and he and WCW are suing each other.
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That Thunder he no showed was a Tallahassee show. I no showed it, too.
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- Bret Hart officially gave notice to WWF this week that he's leaving and has agreed to a 2-year deal with WCW. Hart has reportedly been unhappy with WWF's new, more crude direction and that, more than money, is reportedly why he chose to leave, but of course, money played a big part also. But Hart is reportedly so embarrassed by the current WWF direction that he doesn't even let his children watch the show and of course has been upset at having to deal with Shawn Michaels. Both Hart and WWF tried to keep the story under wraps until after Survivor Series but that's impossible these days. Once the story leaked, WWF released a statement admitting that they were giving Hart the opportunity to explore other options. On Nitro, Eric Bischoff teased that he would have a big announcement next week, which would be Hart coming to join the NWO (which would probably be turned into a storyline with him deciding if he's with WCW or NWO). For now, Bret is scheduled to work all his WWF booked events through the end of November and then one final PPV show in December. Hart and Bischoff have reportedly been negotiating for about 6 weeks, and very few people knew. They met in person 3 weeks ago and at that point, they were pretty sure Bret was coming to WCW but he didn't make the final decision until this weekend. During his WWF negotiations last year, Hart got Vince to agree to a clause in his 20-year contract that allows him to quit with 30 days notice and another clause that gives him creative control over his character during those final 30 days.

- All that is known about Hart's WCW deal is that it's similar to the contract he turned down last year, although slightly less money because Hart insisted on working fewer dates (around 125-140 per year) due to a bad knee that never really healed last year and a wrist injury that he's long needed surgery on. It also has the same deals with Hart getting movie roles for Turner. Bret will likely be used to help prop up the new Thursday TBS show as well as help WCW grow in Canada. Dave recaps the last year, saying Bret quickly became unhappy in WWF after signing his new deal, and pretty much came up with his own angle for the double-turn with Steve Austin and with forming the Hart Foundation. He also has well-known heat with Shawn Michaels dating back to last year but got much more heated this year with Shawn's "Sunny days" comment followed by a legit backstage fight that led to Shawn walking out of the company. Neither man was punished for the fight and in fact, WWF basically begged Shawn to return. Eventually they agreed to co-exist and leave personal lives and families out of their promos, but Shawn then did an interview talking about Stu Hart. Shawn later apologized for that one, saying he got carried away in a promo. Shawn has been on a self-destructive path the last year and his immaturity and antics on TV are seemingly encouraged by Vince McMahon, which upset Bret. And the final straw appears to be Vince deciding that Bret will drop the title to Shawn at Survivor Series.

- There's been speculation that Vince McMahon actually wants Bret to leave because he doesn't want to honor the 20-year contract that Bret has because he has buyer's remorse. McMahon fought hard to keep Bret from WCW last year and many think he was only thinking in the short-term when he made the deal. Long-term, it's a very expensive contract that doesn't make good economic sense for WWF which has led to people questioning whether or not Vince is actively trying to push Bret to leave. Asking him to drop the title to Shawn was sure to upset him and Vince knew it. Dave says no one knows exactly what will happen in Montreal at the PPV. Most people will expect Bret to drop the title, but they may try to swerve fans and do it at another time. But either way, Bret will have to drop the belt sometime very soon. As for guys like Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith, they're both locked into 5 year contracts and it doesn't look like any of this will affect their status with the company.

- And on a final note, just a few days ago, Bret Hart wrote a column in the Calgary Sun paper which is designed as a "letter" to Shawn Michaels that was meant to seem like a shoot in order to promote the Survivor Series match. But knowing what we know now, it takes on a whole new meaning (I'm sure Bret meant every word of this):

Quote:"Shawn Michaels, you are a disgrace to professional wrestling. It amazes me that there was a time I actually thought you'd be the guy who could come up behind me and carry the ball when my time comes to retire. Now when you're behind me, I have to make sure I don't bend over. I am a second generation wrestler. Like a lot of second generation wrestlers, I've paid my dues. The way you are degrading the business makes me sick and breaks my heart. That's not what Heartbreak Kid was supposed to mean. I told you, and Vince told you, to leave our families out of this. So you got on RAW and said that my father is dead. This time you're so far over the line that there's no coming back. Every so often, after you shoot off your mouth, you come to me backstage with a lame apology and a limp handshake. "Oh Bret, my mouth always gets me in trouble when I get goin' out there. You know I didn't mean nothin' by it."

Don't bother this time, I'm not buying it. I would not embarrass my father--who is not only very much alive but is still tougher today at 83 and more of a man than you will ever be--as you have embarrassed your father with your degenerate behavior. How humiliating for your poor mother to have to explain your lewd gestures to her friends. You don't respect anybody, do you? What does Jose Lothario think of how you've made pornography out of what he taught you? Shawn Michaels, you are nothing more than a whore for this business.

You called me a paper champion because it bothers you that my contract is worth more than you and the whole Degeneration X put together. You said I wrestle because I need the money, but you wrestle because this business needs you. You are a festering cancerous tumor in this business. After Wrestlemania XII, I went home for a while to give you the chance to become "the man" because as long as I'm around you'll never be "the man." You were so bad at being "the man" that the WWF and WCW had the biggest bidding war in wrestling history to get me to come back. You'd have the World championship belt. But you don't. What do you have, besides a big mouth and a bad attitude?

Shawn Michaels, you said that beating the Undertaker makes you an icon. Not taking anything away from 'Taker, but you weren't the first guy to beat him, you just did it too late. You said you're the only icon that can still go, not like the fossils. You're so beat up from taking completely overdone bumps like a Mexican jumping bean that you can't even work a full schedule like the older guys. You only wrestle about once a month and you're proud of that? Then people who think they know more about this business than they actually do, write about what a hard worker you are. Anyone can work hard once a month. You've barebacked your way to main event matches and they give you the best guys in the business to make you look good.

So you and your boyfriend, Hunter, think I'm too old. Hunter said he's bigger than me in more ways than one, and then you pointed at Hunter's crotch and said he could put an eye out with that thing. Thanks for admitting that you know what Hunter has in his pants. So how come I have four kids and all you two have is each other? I'm not the one shooting blanks. By the way, you both looked very comfortable eating bananas together on Raw. Lots of parents tell me they won't let their kids watch the shows anymore because of you and they don't watch either because you're such an asshole. People are shutting the show off because of you! It took so long to make wrestling into family entertainment. Thanks for setting the business back 50 years! You are the one who is confusing expansion and destruction, not me. You, Shawn, are the destruction of this business. You make me sick. You said you're the best sports entertainer in the world. Don't even think about saying you're a wrestler. What I do is an art form and what you do is...what do you do, anyway, cause it's not pro wrestling anymore?

You called the WWF world championship a "tin title" but you're only saying that because you don't have the belt. When you did have it, you treated it like garbage and then threw it away! So now you want to try to win the title at Survivor Series? You'd better reconsider that because when I get my hands on you it's going to make the beating I gave you in the locker room last June look like a warm up. After that little scuffle, you went running to Vince, complaining that the work conditions in the WWF are unsafe. The only thing unsafe about the working conditions in the WWF is you, Shawn. You've gotten in the ring so "pilled up" lately that you can't even talk straight on TV. You'd better shake the cob webs free before you get in the ring with me at SS. This business has been my mistress for my whole life and I love her. You are raping her and taking her dignity away. Don't count on my reputation for professionalism saving your ass at SS. You're the one who threw the rule book out the window. The 17 stitches you got at Hell in the Cell are nothing compared to what's coming at Misery in Montreal."

- Ric Flair has also agreed to re-sign with WCW which is a win for them because WWF was very interested and Flair had strongly considered it for awhile. But he'll be staying with WCW.

- The official cause of death for Brian Pillman has been released and the verdict is heart attack due to natural causes. Reportedly, after a month of tests, the coroner was stumped for a cause of the heart attack, although his heart did show an unusual amount of damage for someone his age. It could be hereditary or due to outside factors such as cocaine or steroids, both of which it's no secret that Pillman had used and abused during his career. Toxicology results didn't show any drugs in amounts that could have killed him. He had painkillers in his system but not at dangerous levels. No steroids or illegal drugs were found in his system, nor any alcohol. He had blood pressure medication in his system, which he didn't have a prescription for but again not at a dangerous amount. On a WCW internet radio show a couple of weeks ago, Gene Okerlund claimed to have an inside scoop with sources with the police in MN that cocaine was the cause of death, which got rumors going. But when toxicology showed no cocaine in his system, this naturally led to a ton of heat on Okerlund and upset a lot of people.

- Gorilla Monsoon's condition improved over the weekend but he's still hospitalized and listed in serious condition. Monsoon was on a respirator and receiving kidney dialysis for most of the last week. Doctors are hoping to perform a bypass surgery on his heart soon, but it no longer looks as though he needs a transplant for now. Monsoon had been a top heel back in the day and was part owner of Capital Sports (parent company of the old WWWF) before selling his share of the company to Vince McMahon Jr. in 1982. Ever since then, he's remained with the company as an announcer, figurehead authority figure, and backstage office roles as well as giving time cues at TV tapings from the other side of the curtain.

- NJPW "only" drew around 40,000 to their latest stadium show in the Fukuoka Dome, which is the smallest crowd ever for a NJPW stadium show. The number disappointed many, and it seems to be a reality check about the long-term future of NJPW, which has been the most successful promotion in the world for the last few years, but is starting to see the peak fading. Right now, they're being carried by the final retirement shows of Riki Choshu which are doing big business, but after he retires on Jan. 4th, NJPW doesn't really have anything exciting on the horizon for 1998, which has some in the company worried.

- Two incidents with fans at wrestling shows made news this week and led to near riots. The first was at a Promo Azteca show in Tijuana. A bunch of wrestlers were in the ring having a big post-match brawl. Among them were Rey Misterio Jr., Psicosis, Konnan, and others when a fan hit the ring and did a dropkick on Misterio. Then another fan ran in and hit Mistero with a chair, but Misterio got the chair away from the fan. At this point, fans in the crowd all started throwing chairs at the ring and, sensing a riot about to break out, others in the crowd panicked and began running. All in all, it was a scary situation but nobody was hurt. For what it's worth, WCW doesn't want Misterio wrestling in Mexico anymore because they don't want him to get hurt, especially at a non-WCW show.

- The other incident took place in (where else?)....ECW at a show in Plymouth, PA. This situation was different. According to several witnesses, a small group of fans showed up, all big tough looking guys, and they were there looking for trouble right from the beginning. They were harassing the wrestlers all night from the front row and during the first match, security came and told them to stop leaning over the rails and stop spitting at wrestlers, but the security guard was shouted down by the group. Why they weren't removed then and there, no one knows. The ECW wrestlers mostly tried to avoid wrestling near them. But then Axl Rotten, Balls Mahoney, John Kronus and (who else?) New Jack came to the ring for a match. And then trouble began. When Balls Mahoney got too close, 2 of the fans started punching him. Mahoney turned around and started throwing wild punches back and then the ECW locker room emptied as everyone ran out to join the brawl. "Reports are the Dudleys were going through the crowd like buzzsaws" and it took nearly 20 minutes to bring order back to the show. After it was over, several hundred fans were outside the building trying to escape the near-riot. Several fans were injured, although none seriously. 40 police officers, some in riot gear, and even a police dog showed up to the scene. The story made all the local news outlets. Balls Mahoney and New Jack were brought to the police station for questioning. The 2 fans who threw the initial punches were arrested and charged with assault, disorderly conduct, and harassment. New Jack surprisingly didn't do much during the fight because as soon as it started to break out, Paul Heyman ran out and pulled New Jack away from it because given the Mass Transit legal situation, Heyman didn't want him getting into more legal trouble that could reflect on the company.

- Speaking of fans getting involved, WWF ran an angle on Raw with a "fan" being brought into the ring who then started doing martial arts and kicking people's asses. He is former Stampede wrestler Steve Blackman and he's expected to officially debut in his first match at Survivor Series, replacing The Patriot on Team USA.

- Dave reviews a recent FMW show and says the show-stealer was Masato Tanaka vs. The Gladiator (Mike Awesome) and says usually they're both decent workers at best but they really clicked in this match. (Indeed they did. Those 2 had the best chemistry together and they went on to have legendary matches against each other in ECW and even revived the feud years later at the first WWECW One Night Stand PPV). Anyway, this FMW match even has their famous powerbomb-outside-the-ring spot at about the 18 minute mark.

- The Dallas Sportatorium got a new lease on life after reports came out that it would be torn down. Enough die-hard wrestling fans who still attend the occasional indie show there made enough noise that they extended the lease on the building and it won't be torn down for now.

- USWA is dead, but Jerry Lawler had a contract to run weekly shows at a casino in Mississippi, so he's continuing to run indie shows there each week so as to not to violate the contract. In Louisville, Ian Rotten's IWA is trying to take over the TV deal and arena dates that USWA had. And Bert Prentice's Music City Wrestling is trying to take over the Memphis and Nashville deals and they'll be running their first show in Memphis next week on the usual USWA date at the same building.

- A few weeks ago, Billy Jack Haynes emerged from hiding (reportedly because he had some bad gambling debts and was kinda on the run) and tried to make amends with people he had screwed over. He admitted having a gambling problem but said it was all behind him now. He borrowed some money from a few people to get his life back in order.....but has instead disappeared again after borrowing the money.

- The rap group Insane Clown Posse will be wrestling at a show called Stranglemania Live in Detroit next month. The show will also feature a women's thumbtack death match. (Here's Part 1, the other 3 parts should autoplay after you finish the previous one).

- ECW held a show in Stamford, CT on Halloween that sounds like it was a lot of fun. A lot of current ECW stars who used to work in WWF used their old WWF gimmicks since it was Halloween. Al Snow came out as Avatar, Justin Credible worked as Aldo Montoya, Jerry Lynn worked as Mr. J.L., Shane Douglas did his Dean Douglas gimmick and Chris Candido came out as Skip. Also on the show, Rob Van Dam dressed as Sabu. The BWO guys (Blue Meanie and Super Nova) wrestled as Big Daddy Fool and the Heartburn Kid, coming out to Shawn Michaels' music. Finally, Tommy Dreamer won a flag match and proclaimed Stamford as ECW country (no free video anywhere but apparently you can pay to watch it here on Highspots).


- Tickets for Sting vs. Hogan at Starrcade go on sale this week and it's almost certainly going to break every record in WCW history and probably for PPV also. The Halloween Havoc show last month did a big PPV buyrate also. Dave says a lot of people have talked about how terrible the Hogan/Piper "age in the cage" match was, and they're right, it was awful. But the job of the top stars is to sell tickets and when it comes to that, Hogan is still #1 in WCW, no matter how bad the match was. Even Hogan's new movie Assault on Devil's Island did a 4.2 rating, making it one of the most-watch made-for-TV movies ever on cable and they may be turning the movie into an ongoing TV series.

- Dave thinks the political situation in WCW will be interesting in 1998. All of the top stars (Hogan, Sting, Flair, Piper, Savage, Hall, Nash, and soon, Bret Hart) will be under the same roof and all of them have or will have some measure of creative control in their contracts. With WWF losing Bret Hart, that frees up a lot of money so don't be surprised to see some of those guys maybe looking to go back to WWF if things get too crowded at the top.

- Raven cut a promo on Nitro and mentioned sitting next to a girl named Trisa Hayes in elementary school. That's an inside reference because Trisa Hayes is actually the real name of ECW's Beulah McGillicutty.

- Perry Saturn won the TV title on Nitro, and because his knee is still not fully healed, he wrestled a totally different style, sorta similar to Taz with lots of suplexes and submissions. Taz got wind of this and was reportedly upset that Saturn was stealing his gimmick but Dave says they're different enough that he wouldn't really consider it the same.

- WCW Injury Report: Bill Goldberg has a pulled groin and will miss a few shows. Syxx had an MRI on his neck and the results weren't good, as he had more damage than originally thought. He'll be out for awhile, no word how long. DDP had blood in his urine recently but didn't miss any matches. Marcus Bagwell will be out for a few weeks after having the meniscus in his knee removed. And even Kimberly Page knocked heads with another Nitro girl during a mistimed routine and was banged up.

- Southern California indie wrestler Christopher Daniels is expected to get a WCW tryout soon.

- WCW filed a lawsuit against WWF over them using the name Canadian Stampede for it's PPV back in July because they claimed it was too similar to WCW's Spring Stampede PPV name. The case was settled out of court, but not for money. Part of the agreement is WWF wouldn't use the name Canadian Stampede in the future.

- DDP raised about $1000 for Brian Pillman's family through internet donations.

- Steve Austin has been working 8-man tag matches on house shows and doing very little in the ring. Doctors are still giving him bad diagnosis but its hard for someone to stop and give up their career when they're at their peak like Austin is now (we're not even close to Austin's peak yet).

- Doctors have told The Patriot he should retire due to his tricep tear because it seems to be a chronic problem. He's expected to get surgery and if he decides to return, it'll be in 3-6 months (he didn't return).
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Strap in everybody. Today is Screwjob day.
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- The Montreal Screwjob. Dave says it will go down as the most famous finish to a wrestling match possibly in history and thanks to video tape, it will be remembered for decades, bigger than any star jumping promotions or any record setting show. Anyway, the layout of this issue is weird, because Dave decides to recap every important date leading up to what just occurred at Survivor Series. I'll go ahead and do it in the same format he does. This is going to be a weird and VERY long post. And it's only part 1:

- Oct. 20, 1996 - Bret Hart makes the decision to re-sign with WWF, mostly out of loyalty and a desire to cement his legacy in one place, despite Eric Bischoff making him a huge offer to jump ship. Bret signs a ridiculous 20-year contract with WWF which also gives him the option of putting in 30 days notice if he wants to leave at any time and gives him "reasonable" creative control during those 30 days so he wouldn't be buried on the way out.

- Mar. 10, 1997 - Vince McMahon asks Bret to turn heel, which he doesn't want to do at first until Vince convinces him. Bret agrees and does the double-turn with Austin and then Bret himself came up with the anti-American angle where he'd be a heel in the U.S and babyface in the rest of the world.

- Sept. 8, 1997 - McMahon and Bret have a meeting about his contract. Three months earlier, Vince had told Bret that the company was in bad financial shape and that he may have to defer some of the money from Bret's contract to later in the deal. This time, Vince wasn't suggesting. He told Bret they would have to cut his salary ($30,000 per week) into more than half and then make up for it later down the road. Bret refused to accept that, because what if the financial situation didn't get better? He'd never get the money.

- Sept. 20, 1997 - An hour before the UK PPV started, Vince tells Davey Boy Smith that he's losing the title to Shawn Michaels. Smith is shocked because he'd been told all along that he was winning, and of course had dedicated the match to his dying sister. The same night, McMahon also asks Bret to work a match with Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series, but Bret refuses because he said Shawn had never apologized for the "Sunny days" comment and he didn't think he could trust him in the ring, and he assumed Shawn didn't trust him either. But Vince pushed it and they both eventually agreed to work together.

- Sept. 22, 1997 - McMahon tells Bret flat out that they are going to intentionally breach his contract because the company can't afford it. He tells Bret that he should contact WCW and make whatever deal he could with them. He gave Bret written permission to negotiate with them. The same day, Vince, Bret, and Shawn had a meeting to plan their Survivor Series match where Shawn told them point blank that he wouldn't do any jobs for anyone (which, as you can imagine, endeared Shawn to the entire locker room when word got out). Vince then came up with a plan for Survivor Series where Bret would face Shawn and Undertaker would interfere, causing a no-contest. At the next PPV on Dec. 7th, Bret would face Undertaker, and Shawn would interfere and cost Bret the title. During the meeting, Bret twice told Shawn that he would be happy to put him over at the end of the storyline, and twice, Shawn flat out told Bret that he wouldn't do the same.

- Oct. 21, 1997 - Vince approached Bret about losing the title to Shawn at Survivor Series, but Bret said he didn't want to lose the title in Canada, since he had become such a big hero there. So Vince asked him to lose the title to Shawn at the Dec. 7th PPV, but Bret refused again because he didn't want to do a job for someone who wouldn't do one back. Later that day, Bret, Shawn, McMahon, and Pat Patterson had a meeting where Shawn apologized for saying he wouldn't do a job and said he would be glad to. Bret still refused to lose the title in Montreal. Also, the night before, Hart had been asked to put over HHH by pinfall, but Bret refused and got it changed to a count-out finish.

- Oct. 24, 1997 - McMahon had another meeting with Hart and told him the money situation had improved and he wanted to continue to honor Bret's contract. Hart told him that WCW hadn't really made a serious offer yet and he wanted to stay in WWF, but he still was uncomfortable putting over Shawn.

- Oct. 31, 1997 - Eric Bischoff makes Bret Hart a huge offer, said to be in the $3 million per year range. Hart wanted to consider the offer.

- Nov. 1, 1997 - Hart tells McMahon about the WCW offer and said he wasn't asking WWF for more money to match it, but he wanted to know what his future was in WWF because he was considering taking WCW's deal. McMahon told him he'd think about it and call him back. A few hours later, he called back and said he didn't know what Bret's future in WWF was, but asked him to trust his judgement. But he also once again asked Hart to drop the title to Shawn in Montreal. Bischoff called back later that night and raised his offer, which Bret later said he "would have been insane not to take." He felt bad about leaving WWF and wanted Vince to lay out some scenarios for his future to convince him to stay, but Vince wouldn't commit to anything. That night, Vince called Bret back again and urged him to go ahead and accept WCW's offer. Reluctantly, Bret gave written notice to WWF that night and signed his new WCW contract. He also got everyone involved on both sides to sign confidentiality agreements to keep word from leaking out before Survivor Series, but obviously that didn't happen.

- Nov. 2, 1997 - In the ultimate irony, Bret and Vince discussed the plans for Survivor Series. Vince suggested an angle where Bret would get screwed out of the title, and then the next night on Raw, Bret would blame Vince and punch him. Vince even suggested Bret could hardway punch him and try to give him a black eye or bust him open. The irony, of course, being that this is exactly what ended up happening in the locker room after the match. Anyway. Bret refused again. He said he had never refused to do a job before, but he was putting his foot down and refused to lose the title in Montreal or the next night on Raw in Ottawa. He agreed to put Shawn over anywhere else and also said he was willing to drop the title to Vader, Shamrock, Mankind, Undertaker, and even Brooklyn Brawler. At this point, Vince threatened Bret with legal action if he wouldn't lose in Montreal. Bret pointed out the 30 days of "reasonable" creative control, but Vince said refusing to drop the belt wasn't "reasonable." After arguing back and forth, they finally agreed on a DQ finish in Montreal, and then Bret would drop the title to Shawn in a 4-way match the next week on Raw. Then Bret would come out on the Dec. 8th Raw and cut a babyface promo and put over WWF and apologize to the American fans and leave WWF on a high note. But Bret's WCW contract was set to begin on Dec. 1st. So Bret contacted Eric Bischoff and told him the plan and Bischoff agreed to allow Bret to work with WWF until the 8th. Dave then says Bret contacted someone who keeps on top of wrestling news and asked if he thought it was possible to keep the news from leaking before Survivor Series, and was specifically wanting to keep it secret from one person (Dave doesn't say who but....it's clearly him). The guy told Bret that he was sure that person (Dave) probably already knew about it (he did).

- Nov. 4, 1997 - Sure enough, the story leaks out through the Observer and PWTorch newsletters. In response, WWF put out a statement saying that Bret was simply "exploring his options" (although at this point, he had already signed a WCW contract). Hart wouldn't comment on it at all.

- Nov. 5, 1997 - McMahon tells Bret that he HAS to drop the title at Survivor Series now because he doesn't want Eric Bischoff to go on Nitro the next night and publicly announce that he has signed the current WWF champion. Bret told Vince he would get Bischoff to postpone the announcement but Bischoff was on a hunting trip and Bret couldn't get hold of him. Vince asked Bret to drop the title at a house show in Detroit before Survivor Series, but Bret refused again. He said he would drop the title any time after Nov. 12th, at any house show or TV taping. But not in Canada and not before walking into Montreal as champion.

- Nov. 7, 1997 - Thanks to the internet, the news spread like wildfire and rumors of why Bret was leaving went wild. Later that night, Bret Hart appeared on TSN's show Off The Record and danced around the issue and talked about his problems with the WWF product and with Shawn Michaels (for some reason, I can't find this episode). Vince McMahon eventually responded in a letter published on WWF's AOL page stating:

Quote:"Over the past few days I have read certain comments on the Internet concerning Bret Hart and his "alleged" reasons for wanting to pursue other avenues than the World Wrestling Federation to earn his livelihood. While I respect the "opinions" of others, as owner of the World Wrestling Federation I felt that it was time to set the record straight. As it has been reported recently online, part of Bret Hart's decision to pursue other options is "allegedly due to his concern with the "direction" of the World Wrestling Federation. Whereby each and every individual is entitles to his, or her, opinion, i take great offense when the issue of the direction of the World Wrestling Federation is raised. In this age of sports-entertainment, the World Wrestling Federation REFUSES to insult its audience in terms of "Baby Faces" and "Heels." In 1997, how many people do you truly know who are strictly "good" guys or "bad" guys? World Wrestling Federation programming reflects more of a reality-based product in which life, as well as World Wrestling Federation superstars, are portrayed as they truly are--in shades of gray...not black or white. From what I am reading, it has been reported that Bret may be concerned about the morality issues in the World Wrestling Federation. Questionable language. Questionable gestures. Questionable sexuality. Questionable racial issues. Questionable? All of the issues mentioned above are issues that every human being must deal with every day of their lives. Also, with that in mind, please be aware that Bret Hart had been cautioned--on "numerous" occasions--to alter his language, by not using expletives or God's name in wain. He was also told--on numerous occasions--not to use certain hand gestures some might find offensive. My point is: regardless of what some are reporting, Bret's decision to pursue other career options IS NOT genuinely a Shawn Michaels direction issue, as they would like you to believe! In the personification of DeGeneration X, Shawn Michaels' character is EXPECTED to be living on the edge--which, I might add, Mr. Michaels portrays extremely well. The issue here is that the "direction" of the World Wrestling Federation is not determined by Shawn Michaels, OR Bret Hart for that matter. It is determined by you--the fans of the World Wrestling Federation! You DEMAND a more sophisticated approach! You DEMAND to be intellectually challenged! You DEMAND a product with ATTITUDE, and as owner of this company--it is my responsibility to give you exactly what you want! Personally, I regret the animosity that has built up between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, but in the end, it is the World Wrestling Federation that is solely responsible for the content of this product--NOT Bret Hart--NOT Shawn Michaels--NOT Vince McMahon, for that matter. May the best man win at the Survivor Series!"

- Nov. 8, 1997 - At the house show in Detroit, tensions were running high and people were discussing the possibility of a double-cross but no one really thought it was that likely. Double-crossing guys to get the belts off them is the sort of stuff that happened back in the carny days of the 1920s, not in the 90s. Regardless, Bret Hart went to the one person he felt he could trust, Earl Hebner, and wanted Hebner to referee the match at Survivor Series because he knew he could trust him. Hebner told Hart he swore on his kid's lives that he'd quit his job before double-crossing Bret. Hebner and Hart have been genuinely close friends for years. The same night, Vince McMahon, Shawn Michaels, Jim Ross, Jim Cornette, and Pat Patterson held a meeting in a hotel room and many people said several of those people looked uncomfortable after the meeting (Dave doesn't mention it but I believe Triple H was in that meeting also).

- Nov. 9, 1997 - Survivor Series. The day of the show, Vince and Bret had another meeting to discuss the match and they agreed to a DQ finish. Bret and Shawn were cordial to each other backstage and were discussing how to have the best match possible. Pat Patterson came in and suggested a ref bump followed by Shawn putting Bret in his own Sharpshooter. Bret would reverse the move and Shawn would tap but the referee wouldn't see it. Then the Hart Family members would run in and that would be the DQ finish. Vader and Davey Boy Smith both warned Bret to be careful and not allow himself to be put into a compromising position or to be in any submissions, in case there was a double-cross. But Bret dismissed the warnings because he trusted Hebner.

- The Match - Vince McMahon suspiciously wasn't there to do commentary. The crowd was rabid, to the point that there was concern that it could be dangerous for Shawn. Some of the crowd knew Bret was leaving and he got some boos from the Canadian fans, which bothered him. But there were also a lot of backstage agents at ringside, and Vince was out there as well. About 8 minutes before the match was scheduled to end, Bruce Prichard ordered more security to ringside.

- The Double-Cross - Hebner took his bump. Shawn put Bret in the sharpshooter. And then Hebner got up, much to everyone's surprise. Shawn glanced back at Hebner, like he was expecting him to get up, which in retrospect led many to believe Shawn was in on it. Hebner ordered the timekeeper to ring the bell. At the same time, Vince McMahon (sitting next to the timekeeper), screamed "Ring the fucking bell!" and the bell rang. Shawn's music played and he was announced as champion. Hebner sprinted out of the ring and straight to the back and hopped into a car that was already running and left. Both Hart and Michaels seemed furious and Bret spat in McMahon's face. Vince screamed at Shawn, "Pick up the fucking belt and get the fuck out of here!" Michaels, looking pissed, went to the back but was ordered by Jerry Brisco to hold the belt up as he was going back.

- The Aftermath - McMahon and Patterson and a few others went backstage to his private office and locked the door. Bret, still in the ring, flipped out and began smashing the TV monitors until Owen, Smith, and Neidhart came out to calm him down. Finally, Bret signaled "WCW" with his fingers and went back to the locker room. He first confronted Shawn, who swore he had nothing to do with it and said he didn't want the belt that way and would refuse to bring it out on Raw the next night to prove it. By this point, everyone in the locker room was furious at McMahon. If Bret, who had been a loyal and model employee for 14 years, could be treated like this, how could anyone else trust Vince?

- Undertaker in particular was incensed and went pounding on Vince's door. When Vince opened the door, Undertaker told Vince in no uncertain terms to go apologize to Bret. So Vince went to Bret's dressing room, where Bret had just got out of the shower. Davey Boy Smith opened the door and told Vince that Bret didn't want to see him. Vince and Shane McMahon, along with Sgt. Slaughter and Jerry Brisco went in anyway. Vince started to apologize and tried to explain that he couldn't risk Bischoff going on TV tomorrow night and announcing that he had signed the WWF champion. Hart told him he was going to go dry off and get dressed and said, "If you're still here when I get back, I'm going to punch you out." He also called Vince a liar and a piece of shit and said he was a model employee. Vince said in 14 years, this was the first time he'd ever lied to him. Bret then rattled off over a dozen lies within the last year alone, which Vince had no comeback for. Hart got dressed and twice told Vince to leave the room or else. Vince didn't leave and they soon got into a scuffle. Bret threw a punch "that would have knocked down a rhino" and laid out Vince. At this point, Shane McMahon jumped on Bret's back, but Davey Boy Smith pulled him off, injuring his knee in the process. Hart nearly broke his hand on the punch and there was concern that Vince's jaw was broken. Bret then asked if Vince was going to screw him on the money he still owed him and a groggy Vince replied, "No." Bret then told Shane and Brisco to "get that piece of shit out of here" and threatened that he'd beat their asses too if they tried anything. So they picked up Vince and carried him out of the room and at some point, they stepped on Vince's ankle, injuring that too.

- At the hotel that night, an unnamed wrestler confronted Earl Hebner, asking him how he could betray one of his best friends, but Hebner claimed ignorance. Pat Patterson, Shawn Michaels, and Bruce Prichard have also denied knowledge of it, but Dave thinks everyone had to have known. From the production crew going off the air early, to Hebner, to even the ring announcer immediately making the announcement, whoever had Shawn's music cued up immediately, all the agents and extra security around the ring, etc. When Bret realized Hebner was involved also, he was personally crushed because Hebner had been a close friend and the only one Bret had trusted.

- Nov. 10, 1997 - The next morning, when everyone realized the full gravity of what happened, Vince became the biggest heel in the locker room. There was also a ton of heat on Michaels. Early in the day, almost everyone in the locker room were planning to boycott Raw that night. But as the day went on, that talk simmered down because everyone realized they still liked being employed. Bret told those close to him not to risk it since they have families and mortgages and not to lose their jobs on his behalf. However, Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Jim Neidhart, and Mankind all flew home and no-showed Raw out of protest and were talking about quitting. They weren't the only ones. Most of the company was upset at how McMahon had treated Bret. Vince gave his side of the story in a speech to the locker room, saying Bret had agreed to drop the title in Montreal then refused the day of the show, which isn't true and no one believed anyway. On Nitro, Eric Bischoff opened the show by announcing Bret Hart had signed with the NWO, and holding Canadian flags. Based on curiosity from the incident, Raw did its highest ratings in over a year (but still lost to Nitro). Shawn came out (with the belt) and talked about running Hart out of the company and also mentioned that Bret beat up a 52-year-old man after the show. On commentary, they acknowledged that Bret was gone from the WWF but danced around the details. The crowd drowned out the Raw main event with massive chants of "We Want Bret!" that continued long after the show went off the air.

- Dave examines the whole situation. Bret Hart is THE name that matters when it comes to the Canadian market and WWF just handed him to WCW because they didn't want to pay his contract. Dave thinks the Canadian market is worth much more than Bret's contract and he thinks letting Bret leave for WCW will be just as devastating to WWF as when Hogan went there in 94 (which basically turned the fledgling WCW around and led to them becoming the #1 promotion). He says this incident will likely be the defining moment of both Bret and Vince's careers and it shows just how deceitful the business can be. Dave asks some final questions: will Bret be a huge success in WCW or are his best years behind him? Will fans continue to hold this against Vince? Will Bret remain a cult-hero? Will McMahon file assault charges against Bret? And since stranger things have happened, is it possible that Bret and Vince will ever bury the hatchet in the future?

- Final epilogue on this story from Dave, as he recounts 2 other possible double-crosses on Vince's watch. In 1983, when Bob Backlund lost the title to Iron Sheik, Backlund later claimed that he had no idea he would lose the match and that Arnold Skaaland throwing in the towel wasn't planned, but most people don't buy that story. Most likely, Backlund is just trying to work people. And the other one took place in 1985, when Vince handed Wendi Ricter a contract to sign over her merchandising rights to the company. Wendi was literally on her way to the ring, and told Vince she would read it after the match and then maybe sign it, but she wanted to read it first. Vince said that wasn't acceptable and demanded she sign it then and there on the spot, but she refused. Then she went out to the ring against a masked opponent named Spider Lady who turned out to be Fabulous Moolah under a mask and she forcefully pinned Richter in the match to win the title. Richter never wrestled in WWF again. Point being, Dave says a leopard doesn't change its spots and although he portrays himself as something else, the reality is Vince McMahon has been this kind of person all along.

- Dave lists over a dozen other famous wrestling double-crosses in title matches, dating back to Frank Gotch in 1911, the Antonio Inoki/Bob Backlund incident, and of course, the ECW/NWA title tournament and offers a paragraph about each explaining them.


- *deep breath*

- And fiiiiiiiiiiiinally, on to something else other than the Screwjob: the rest of Survivor Series. Of course, the whole show was overshadowed by the finish of the main event, but Dave says it's basically the same as every WWF PPV: slow, plodding undercard with lots of terrible wrestlers (Crush, Brian Lee, The Interrogator, Justin Bradshaw, Kama, etc.) but the show is saved at the end by the main event guys like Shawn, Bret, Austin, etc. Basically the total opposite of WCW, where the undercard is great but the main events are terrible. Goldust didn't do much of anything in his match because he recently broke his hand in 3 places. Kane had his debut PPV match and is getting over big. Rocky Maivia is an excellent heel. Steve Austin vs. Owen Hart was kept short (only 4 minutes) because Austin's neck still isn't fully healthy enough for him to work and this was also Owen's first match back since suffering a severe concussion and he wasn't in great condition either. Basically, neither of them should have been in the ring. And Bret vs. Shawn was turning into a classic match until, well, yanno.

- New Japan's J-Crown championship is no more. NJPW has announced that they will be returning 6 of the 7 belts to the owners of them. The timing comes after WWF publicly ordered NJPW to stop using and return the old WWF light heavyweight belt that was part of the J-Crown title. So they returned it, along with all the other various belts, to their rightful owners. The only belt they are keeping is their own IWGP junior heavyweight title.

- Dave mentions there were some problems with the Observer Hotline immediately after Survivor Series, possibly due to the record setting number of calls, and apologizes. He also talks about how a lot of the online news during the last week about Bret Hart obviously came from news that was reported on the Observer and PWTorch hotlines. He talks about how he speculated about stuff on the hotline, but then various websites took those comments, spread it around 3rd and 4th hand, and before you knew it, everyone on the internet was taking stuff that Dave had merely speculated about on the hotline and were reporting it as fact. The more things change...

- Dave opens up voting for the year end awards for 1997. The categories for Best Babyface and Heel have been dropped and replaced with Best Box Office Draw. He's also getting rid of the Most Unimproved award because there are already enough other categories for people to shit on Hogan and Luger. Also scrapping Manager of the Year since managers seem to be getting phased out these days.

- WCW is considering doing a tournament to determine the #1 contender for the cruiserweight title. It would be done in the round robin format that is so common in Japan. Dean Malenko came up with the idea and if they do it, WCW is planning to put him in charge of booking it.

- WCW is also considering adding a "tough man division" of some sort with guys like Benoit, Fit Finlay, Goldberg, Meng, etc. and the division would have its own title.

- Gorilla Monsoon's condition has improved and he may be able to get the heart surgery he needs this week.

- Phil LaFon was arrested last week for a domestic dispute in Canada. Apparently some guy came to LaFon's house looking for a woman who was there. Turned out both guys were carrying guns. LaFon got his out first and had the guy on the ground with the gun in his mouth while the guy begged for mercy. At that point, the woman came out with a knife and tried to stab the guy on the ground. LaFon dropped the gun to grab the woman and stop her from killing the guy. But the guy got up and they got into a fight and at some point, the woman fired the gun and police were called. LaFon was arrested for assault and the woman was arrested for firing a weapon in city limits.

- Eric Bischoff is still pushing for both Rey Misterio and Juventud Guerrera to unmask.

- WCW's upcoming Thursday show may be called "WCW Thursday Thunder" but that's not definite yet.

- ECW Injury Report: Al Snow has a dislocated shoulder and will be out 6 weeks. Bubba Ray Dudley has a broken nose. Francine has a fractured pelvic bone, and Bam Bam Bigelow got 12 stitches. None of the last 3 will miss any dates.

- On the WCW Hotline, Mark Madden ripped into "a collegue" over the reports that Brian Pillman had died of a cocaine overdose. He never mentioned Gene Okerlund by name, but that's obviously who it was about. Okerlund has still not apologized for making the claim.

- Dan Severn got into a weird altercation with Dory Funk after a show, when Funk's wife threw a drink at Severn for some reason. It turned into a big thing and Funk naturally came to his wife's defense. It ended up with both men in the wrestling ring (the show was long over by this point, it was just an empty building and the other wrestlers and crew) and they basically tussled and tried to stretch each other. As you'd expect, Severn more than held his own but eventually stormed out of the ring and left the building. Police were called and showed up just as the whole thing blew over (sounds like a bunch of drunk guys just getting into drunk guy arguments).

- Stevie Richards has quit WCW. He had a legit falling out with Raven over something and felt that without being part of the Raven group, he had no chance of being pushed in the company. Word is Richards is looking to open a video arcade in Philly.

- Antonio Inoki is looking at running NJPW shows in India and China during 1998.
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No Screwjob thoughts. Color me surprised.

Plenty more Screwjob drama today
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- Once again, a HUGE chunk of the issue is devoted to the recent Montreal incident. A lot of questions have been raised about why Vince wanted to get Bret out of his contract and has people wondering about the financial stability of WWF. There have been rumors that they're trying to make the bottom line look better so they can go public and become a publicly traded company and having an expensive 20-year albatross hanging around the company's neck isn't a good look for that. There's also been rumors of wanting to sell a percentage of the company to outsiders, which would bring in new money but let Vince McMahon retain majority interest. But Dave has talked to 4 different high level execs at WWF this week and they've all said there's no truth to any of those rumors. In an AOL chat this week, McMahon addressed the question, saying "Yes, one day the WWF might go public but there are no current plans for that to happen." Reportedly, WWF has been operating in the red for the last 4 years and when Hart signed his 20-year contract last year, they were losing about $135,000 per week. However, recently, WWF has turned the corner and is finally operating in the black. Which means that even with Bret's huge contract, WWF's financial situation has gotten better since Bret signed his contract, not worse. Which begs the question: why did Vince want to let Bret go? Dave starts crunching numbers, looking at company revenue, percentages, etc. to determine if Bret was actually generating enough money for the company that he was worth what he was being paid. And the answer is a definitive yes.

- So there had to be other reasons. Other top stars (Shawn, in particular of course) weren't happy about making so much less than Bret and it put Vince in a position of possibly having to pay more to keep guys like Undertaker or Steve Austin. And one WWF official told Dave that McMahon knew it was inevitable that either Bret or Shawn would eventually have to go and suggested that when Shawn walked out of the company a few months ago, he might have demanded Bret Hart be forced out as a condition of returning. With Hart being 40 years old and on the downswing of his career, with a big contract with 19 years left on it...and Shawn, only 32, with a more reasonable contract, Vince's decision might have been obvious. Dave talks about all the ways WWF tried to get Bret to restructure his contract, all of which Bret turned down.

- On Raw this week, Vince McMahon gave an interview about the situation and implied Bret was unprofessional because he refused to drop the title in the ring and honor the tradition of jobbing on your way out. Dave thinks Vince McMahon talking about honoring traditions is laughable. That said, Dave does point out several occasions recently at house shows where Bret either refused to do a job or had a match finish changed against guys like Helmsley and even Austin. He did refuse to put over Shawn in Montreal, but was willing to do the job any time afterward as long as it wasn't in Canada. And if Vince insisted Bret lose the title in Montreal, why did it have to be Shawn? Dave points out the laundry list of Shawn's recent bad behavior, refusal to do jobs, faking injuries to get out of dropping titles, etc (this is part 1 of the infamous "Bret screwed Bret" interview).

- Dave talks in detail about what the agreed upon plan had been, how the match was supposed to end, and then what would have happened the next night on Raw (Bret doing an interview with Jim Ross admitting he was leaving WWF) and staying around through the Dec. 7th PPV where Bret would lose the title to Shawn in a 4-way match without ever actually being pinned. That part was Eric Bischoff's decision. Bret's WCW contract starts on Dec. 1st and in order to let him work the WWF's Dec. 7th PPV, Bischoff had insisted Bret not be jobbed out. As you would expect, Vince wasn't thrilled that his most hated enemy Bischoff was in a position to have decision-making power over the WWF title and Dave thinks this might have been the reason Vince decided to go with the screwjob. There was also concern that Bret would show up on Nitro the night after the PPV with the belt, which obviously would have been a violation of his contract and Dave says that simply wasn't going to happen and he doesn't think that's the reason. Vince didn't like the idea of letting Bret cut a promo talking about leaving WWF either because he didn't want Bret putting over the move to WCW on his show. Also, Dave points out that they first approached Bret about restructuring his contract before he even won the title. So why WWF didn't get the belt off of him before it got this far (or why they even put it on him at Summerslam in the first place) makes no sense.

- The question remains, how many people were involved? It's in WWF's interest to keep the number low because the whole locker room already lost trust in Vince. If they lose trust in all the agents and producers too, it would be bad news. Dave says Vince, Jerry Brisco, and Earl Hebner definitely knew. Shawn Michaels almost certainly knew, even though he denies it. Pat Patterson likely knew, since he suggested the sharpshooter finish. The sound guy had to know, since Shawn's music was cued up to play immediately (even though the show was scheduled to end with Bret's music playing). Dave thinks the production crew had to know, since they immediately took the cameras off Bret for the rest of the show, plus they abruptly ended the show 7 minutes earlier than planned.

- As for the backstage fight, Dave has talked to 4 witnesses and their stories are all basically the same: Bret laid out Vince with one punch that reportedly caused Vince to have blurry vision for a week after, a concussion, and a nasty black eye. Davey Boy Smith's lawyer has faxed a letter to McMahon, saying he injured his knee breaking up the fight and may need surgery (Smith reportedly pulled Shane McMahon off of Bret). People close to Vince are telling a different story, basically that Vince let Bret punch him and that if it had been a fair fight instead of a sucker punch, Vince would have won and that Bret backed down from Shane. Basically, immature machismo bullshit from Vince to try and save face after Bret bruised his eye and his ego. Vince even went on TV during his interview and implied that if it happened again, he'd wouldn't let Bret punch him and that the fight would have ended differently. Dave says both men were wrong for letting it escalate to a fight because they're both grown men and this is a business, not a schoolyard. "The end result was two 9-year-olds fighting and the one who got a black eye going on TV and crying about it" and that it's turning into a "my daddy can beat up your daddy" argument on the playground.

- Many wrestlers talked of boycotting Raw (including D-generation X member Rick Rude but more on him in a moment) but when they spoke to Bret, he told them not to breach their contracts and go to work for their families. Davey Boy Smith and Owen Hart were both wanting to leave the company but Vince has made it clear that he's not letting either out of their contracts, which both have about 4 years left. Smith hasn't been in contact with WWF at all. Owen worked one house show before having multiple meetings with Vince in Stamford and wanted an apology but Vince wouldn't give it and has now gone on TV blaming Bret. WWF is basically giving Owen a few weeks off but after that, they expect both he and Smith back at work and both guys are seemingly trapped.

- All the pre-match hype worked. Word is the Survivor Series buyrate is the highest since the first Hart/Michaels WM12 match over a year ago. Bad news is that Canada seems to be responsible for a big chunk of that and if you subtract the Canadian buyrate numbers, the show did poorly in the U.S. This is bad news for WWF, since they just gave their top Canadian draw to their competition.

- Dave recaps Vince McMahon's Raw interview, with the famous "Bret Hart screwed Bret Hart" line and everything else he said, basically burying Hart and even subtly threatening to file charges against Bret for the punch. Bret responded by basically shrugging off the interview and saying Vince is a liar (I should point out that Dave has a lot of direct quotes from Bret in here, meaning Bret was clearly talking to Dave in the immediate days after this happened. Bret had openly talked about disliking "dirtsheet" writers back then, but he later admitted that he went to Dave with his side of the story because he knew he could trust him to tell it truthfully). Bret says he will never work with Vince, Jerry Brisco, or Pat Patterson ever again, saying he has too much pride and that it would be like selling out his ethics to work with them again. Bret's ready to put this whole thing behind him and start a new chapter of his career in WCW.

- *deep breath*

- On Nitro, Rick Rude debuted to everyone's surprise. Raw this week was taped and Rude appeared on Raw with a beard while also being clean shaven on a live Nitro at the same time. Bischoff introduced Rude as the newest NWO member who was a member of DX 24 hours before. Rude's first comments when Bischoff handed him the mic were, "Shawn Michaels never beat Bret Hart. Vince McMahon told the referee to ring the bell and rob Bret Hart of the title." Rude had been furious at Vince over the Bret situation but this WCW deal had been in the works for months because Rude was never under WWF contract. He was only working on nightly deal. Rude and WCW had to work out their legal issues because there was still bad blood between the 2 sides over his 1994 lawsuit, so they've been working on getting all that settled. But any thought that Rude jumped ship to WCW on the spur of the moment over the Screwjob is incorrect, because he had been talking to WCW for months.

- To no one's surprise, WCW once again broke their all-time gate record with first day sales for the Starrcade PPV featuring Hogan vs. Sting. They sold over 11,000 tickets on the first day and the show is basically guaranteed to sell out 6 weeks in advance.

- A couple of new women's promotions have started up in Japan, rising from the remnants of all the wrestlers who quit All Japan Women recently. The most notable one is a promotion called Arsion, formed by Aja Kong that will start running shows in February.

- Founding member of the Fabulous Freebirds, Buddy Roberts, was diagnosed with throat cancer last year. He's had some surgeries and now has a hole in his trachea. It's believed the cancer stems from smoking cigarettes (Roberts ended up living until 2012).

- The latest on the Dan Severn/Dory Funk situation mentioned a couple weeks ago was that Dory was upset with Severn because Severn had refused to drop the NWA title to him a few months back. So they ended up working an indie show and after the show, words were exchanged and Dory challenged Severn to get in the ring and settle it. Severn didn't want to, but there were still 30 or 40 people hanging around after the show and he basically felt coerced by Dory and the booker to prove himself, so he eventually got in the ring. It went about like you'd expect, with Severn having his way with Dory until finally just saying fuck it and walking out of the building without showering and grumbling that he didn't like the wrestling business.

- Time Warner put out an explanation for why they are refusing to carry MMA shows. When someone pointed out that it's less dangerous than boxing, they responded that boxing is a sport that has been sanctioned at the amateur, Olympic, and professional levels for decades, while MMA has been banned in several states and thus they don't feel comfortable carrying it. When someone asked them about not carrying ECW PPVs, they gave a similar answer about extreme fighting and promoting violence, which shows that the cable companies still have ECW wrestling confused with shoot-fighting.

- ECW has a PPV next week so it's possible they may have some sort of presence on this week's Raw episode to promote it. If it doesn't happen, it won't be due to a lack of trying from ECW.

- Speaking of ECW, Dave says it's obvious that Tommy Dreamer needs to take time off. He's been working injured (bad shoulder and some sort of heel injury in his foot) and it's almost sad to watch him right now, but he's considered a leader in the company and he's trying not to miss any dates. But Dave says your health is more important and Dreamer needs to take time and heal.

- On the latest ECW TV show, there was a Justin Credible vs. Chris Chetti match. On commentary, Joey Styles was selling it huge, saying that in 5 years, those 2 guys will be main eventing PPVs. Dave says who knows, maybe Styles will have the last laugh on that in 2002, but as it is, that comment got a lot of laughs from everyone else in ECW. Despite his big push, Justin Credible still just comes across as a prelim wrestler. His spinning tombstone finisher is cool though.

- Sean Morley got a tryout at the WCW Nitro tapings (later Val Venis in WWF).

- WCW Injury Report: Perry Saturn's knee is still FUBAR'd. Scott Norton blew out his knee in Japan and will be out 4-6 weeks. Eddie Guerrero may have suffered a pulled groin on Nitro. Curt Hennig needed 5 stitches and got a chipped tooth in a match last week with DDP. Syxx had neck surgery recently and will be out for awhile (ended up getting fired while injured and eventually returns to WWF in a big way, but we'll get there).

- Penthouse magazine is reportedly doing a story on WCW. Because you read it for the articles.

- The new TBS show is going to simply be called WCW Thunder. They dropped the "Thursday Thunder" name because the show may be moved to Wednesdays when baseball season starts.

- Stevie Richards, who just quit WCW, is telling people he's getting out of the wrestling business completely.

- WCW referee Mark Curtis is currently undergoing chemo and radiation for his cancer.

- Mike Tenay is helping WCW produce a video on the best of Brian Pillman in WCW, which they will release with all proceeds going to Pillman's family (don't think that ever materialized).

- The idea for a round robin-style cruiserweight tournament has already been scrapped. Many of the undercard wrestlers who would have been in it are pretty pissed that it got cancelled.

- Steve Everett, who plays football for the Philadelphia Eagles, was shown on camera on Nitro in the front row with a few other Eagles players. After Nitro, as he was leaing the arena, Everett was pulled over and arrested for DWI and possession of drug paraphernalia.

- The plan is for Nitro to become the NWO show and it will likely result in the NWO splitting up into 2 factions. Hogan's original NWO vs. the Wolfpac NWO (probably led by Nash). Meanwhile, the new Thursday show will be the WCW show, with all the normal WCW guys feuding with each other. And then, they would all come together on PPVs and have interpromotional matches.

- With Bret Hart now headed to WCW, Bruce Hart is talking about restarting Stampede Wrestling in Calgary and trying to build an affliation with WCW and use it as a developmental promotion. Because of course Bruce Hart is trying to find a way to worm into this.

- In a dark match at last week's Raw taping, indie wrestler Adam Copeland beat Christian Cage. Copeland is a 23-year-old who has worked indies as Sexton Hardcastle and is said to have a great look. His opponent Christian Cage also works indies and the 2 have reportedly been working together for years.

- On Raw, they showed Sable wearing sunglasses and when they came off, she had a black eye. They are implying that her husband Marc Mero hit her, but in reality the black eye is legit but it came from being kicked by a horse recently.

- I just love this sentence because it summs up the Attitude Era so perfectly: "Vader was supposed to wrestle Goldust, who showed up wearing panty hose, said he was injured, and hit Vader on the head with a hammer."

- Despite Eric Bischoff claiming that WWF is having trouble with advertisers, WWF has denied it and said they've had no negative feedback at all from advertisers since the company began going in a more adult direction. Of course, they've gotten plenty of flack from Phil Mushnick. Dave says that Vince McMahon recently called up Mushnick and berated him over the phone for his coverage of WWF. I'm sure that'll help.

- WWF filmed new "WWF Attitude" commercials that are starting to air and Dave says the one he saw was great. Bret Hart had been a big focus of the commercials, so they recently had Ken Shamrock come into film stuff with him to replace Bret's parts in the commercials.

- Dan Severn was recently in Stamford working out a deal with WWF and will probably be in soon. Both Severn and Ken Shamrock have roles in an upcoming episode of the CBS show Nash Bridges but they won't appear together.

- Letters section is, of course, mostly about the screwjob. Some people saying WWF will never get another dime from them and they will never watch again. Other people saying Vince is the boss and Bret should have done what he was told to do. Basically, the same argument that goes on to this day. Also, lot of people writing into praise Dave. Between the Fritz Von Erich obituary, the Brian Pillman obituary, and the Montreal Screwjob writeup, people are basically telling Dave he's writing the best stuff of his career. Having read all this up to this point...I agree.
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I never really liked Bret as a kid was always a Shawn guy. Reading these makes me know how bad he was at the time but he was always money to me so I thought the screw job wasn't a big deal because I didn't care much for Bret. I think with our age he really kind of played to out tween and teenage years which worked out best for them. I think that's why Hogan turning heel worked so well and why turning cena heel now would work
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I don't know if Will is reading these threads but if so....I hereby admit I was wrong. We have been arguing this screwjob stuff for years and I've always taken Vince's side but...I can't anymore. They did Bret fuckin' dirty.
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I still say Eric Bischoff was gonna pay to have the belt tossed in the trash on WCW, they coulda shown a broken belt but they needed Bret to leave with it.

That and the whole going out on your back thing.
I'm glad to see you've come over to the right side of things Peezy. Lol

I always thought this whole thing was dirty, but this these recaps show just how dirty it really was. I had no idea to the levels of dirtyness.

"Bret screwed Bret"

Nope, I don't see it that way
[+] 1 user Likes sanderz1's post
First and foremost I was a 100% WWF fanboy at this time. I was 15. The only WCW I ever watched was the 1st hour of Nitro unopposed (which was probably later than this regardless) and flipping when WWF was on commercial. I HATED Bret Hart. He wore pink and had hearts on him. The epitome of gay when I was this age. I hated Shawn Michaels. My Mom liked Shawn Michaels. I honestly can't remember if my Dad bought us this PPV. My Dad was good about getting us the big 5 and I know we got SummerSlam so chances are I witnessed this on PPV. At the time I can say I probably didn't care. It was all about the emergence of Austin. Bret bored me. As kids the rumor was Vince was sending Bret and Russo there as insiders to start the downfall of WCW (which ultimately happened.) Ultimately this led to the full blown Attitude era and ECW being aired at 12AM locally on some local broadcast network in my Chicago suburb and me turning my attention to them. Bret was right. Vince was right. Bret was wrong. Vince was wrong. If this never happened imagine where wrestling might be.... Oh wait. Jinder Mahal is the World Champion.
the screwjob is the greatest work in wrestling history
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dory funk challenging severn to a match is hilarious. funk had to have been super drunk or has a ridiculous amount of irrational confidence
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- WCW's World War III PPV is in the books and it pretty much sucked. Eddie Guerrero vs. Misterio Jr. stole the show, but that's not saying much and it wasn't as good as their Halloween Havoc match. Goldberg had to pull out of his scheduled match with Steve McMichael due to a groin injury so they did an angle where he was attacked backstage. Ric Flair and Curt Hennig had a decent match but both of them are inconsistent at best these days in the ring and it wasn't a good night for either of them. The final 3 men in the 60-man battle royal were Scott Hall, Giant, and DDP. Turns out Lex Luger was originally booked to be one of the final 3, but DDP managed to politic his way into the spot instead. Hall won the match. Also, Dave offhandedly mentions that Mike Tenay worked commentary for the entire show (usually he splits duties with Dusty Rhodes) and Rhodes was clearly unhappy about it because on the Saturday TV taping, Dusty was on commentary and spent half the show complaining about his new announcing duties.

- Dave hypes up ECW's upcoming 3rd PPV November To Remember. Their last PPV was considered a disappointment and this show has a lot less publicity going into it since WWF hasn't helped them promote it aside from a brief throwaway mention on Raw. Rick Rude was scheduled to be at the show, since he played a part in setting up the Shane Douglas vs. Bam Bam Bigelow feud but with him jumping to WCW, he won't be there now. Regardless, the show is expected to break both ECW's all-time gate and attendance records. They had attempted to book Guns n Roses guitarist Slash to play the national anthem (most of the guys in GnR are apparently legit ECW fans) but that deal fell through. The show is also scheduled to feature another appearance by porn star Jenna Jameson and rap group Insane Clown Posse, but neither of those is definite (I don't think either happened at this show). ECW will be using WWF's lighting guy to make sure they don't have a repeat of the 2nd PPV, where the lighting looked so bad and amateurish. Heyman had worked out a deal to get more promotion for the show on Raw but the promos he sent never aired. He had also offered to send Sandman & Dreamer vs. Sabu and Van Dam in a tables and ladders match to air on Raw, but WWF turned it down.

- WWF Raw this week was built around Bret Hart, who obviously wasn't there and says he'll never return. But after 2 weeks of higher-than-normal ratings coming out of Survivor Series, WWF is determined to milk this Bret Hart story for all its worth. So in media outlets around the country, they advertised the main event of Raw as Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart. Of course, the final result was a midget dressed in Bret Hart gear, which Shawn and HHH beat up, slapped a WCW sign on on him, and kicked him out of the ring. It would be a great angle if it was an angle, but it's not setting up a match and did nothing to push WWF's next PPV. It just kept Bret Hart's name in the news just before he starts with WCW and helped solidify him even more as the babyface in this whole scenario while making WWF look petty and vindictive.

- Bret Hart was scheduled to make an appearance on TSN's Off The Record show this week to make his first public statements since the screwjob. But Vince McMahon got himself booked on the show the next night, so he could have a rebuttal to anything Bret said. When Bret found out Vince was booked the next night, he cancelled his appearance. Vince then cancelled his also. Vince is still making noise about pressing charges for the punch and WWF sources now say Vince suffered a concussion, blurred vision, black eye, and broken ankle in the fight. Hart has a cracked bone in his hand from the punch also and doctors have told him not to wrestle for 6 weeks. Vince McMahon is said to be upset that basically everyone is siding with Hart in this situation and will air part 2 of the interview with Jim Ross on Raw this week to address the issue further. As for who's right or wrong, Dave says this is a messy situation and both sides made mistakes but he makes it pretty clear that he's siding with Bret on this one.

- As for the possibility that Bret might have shown up on Nitro the next night with the belt and trashed it like Madusa, Dave points out that Bret is still under contract to WWF until Nov. 30th so that wasn't happening. Although there's always a possibility that Bret could have found a loophole in the contract or may have been willing to breach the deal to go to Nitro but WCW almost certainly wouldn't have risked the legal ramifications of that. Dave points out the fact that Vince did that with Lex Luger back in 1992, signing him to a WBF contract and putting him on WWF TV to get around his non-compete clause. But even if so, if that was really a concern, Vince could have just physically taken the belt away from Bret and kept it himself until it was needed for TV. Dave does admit that Vince was in a tough spot of figuring out how to get the title off Bret during the last few weeks of his contract, especially if it happened after Dec. 1st, at which point Eric Bischoff would have a say in how Bret could be booked. But in that case, Vince should have never let things get this far to begin with. If he wanted Bret out of the company and wanted out of the contract, why make him the champion and put him in a feud with the guy you know he legit hates and expect him to drop the title when he has creative control? Bottom line, WWF tried (and failed) to destroy Hart's legacy, reputation, and dignity by double-crossing him to fix a situation that Vince himself created.

- Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith are locked into their WWF contracts and both of them are said to be so one-sided that even if they both quit the company now, they wouldn't be able to wrestle anywhere else for the next 4 years. So against their wishes, both men will be returning. Smith is having knee surgery this week (on Raw, Shawn Michaels called it a fake knee injury, which Dave says Shawn knows all about). As for Jim Neidhart, he was never under WWF contract and can leave at anytime, but WCW apparently isn't that interested so he's probably staying also.

- One final note on this topic, Dave says that he predicts this will all be turned into a storyline eventually, likely when Owen returns. He also predicts that WWF will try to copy this whole thing as a work in the future (sure enough, the very next Survivor Series). He also says that McMahon has received such a negative reaction from this that he wouldn't be surprised to see Vince use this incident to turn himself heel (boy, did he ever).

- The lawsuit over USWA has apparently been dropped. No reason was given for dropping the suit but now that USWA is dead, there wasn't anything to win anyway. The most valuable assets were the syndication deals and those are gone, along with the Memphis TV deal. So whoever won would have only won a promotion with no place to air it, plus all the debts that the company had (another lawsuit for fraud ends up getting filed at some point because here's a link to a court document regarding it in 1999 and it's really interesting and tells all sorts of details about the last days of USWA if you feel like sorting through all the legalese).


- The HBO show Inside The NFL featured a segment on Ernie Ladd, who was a football star before leaving the sport at his peak to become a pro wrestler. The story heavily featured his pro wrestling years (sadly, I can't find video of this).

- UFC is holding a show in Japan later this month and have had discussions with WWF about bringing in a wrestler to fight on the show. Obviously, their first choice was Ken Shamrock and they made a big money offer, but WWF has big plans for Shamrock and don't want to risk him getting hurt. They started tossing around other names, but with WWF's roster so thin these days, they don't want anyone to risk getting hurt in UFC, so Vince turned them down.

- At an ECW show, the fans chanted "You sold out!" at New Jack due to the internet rumors that he's going to WCW. New Jack claims WCW made him an offer and he turned it down. WCW denies that they ever made an offer for him. Either way, he's not going to WCW. Dave wants to assume WCW is telling the truth because pretty much nobody wants New Jack these days given his reputation. But WCW also denied making an offer to Taz when Dave knows for a fact they did. So who knows who's telling the truth. Anyway, New Jack was furious at the chants, saying he has jumped off balconies for ECW fans and now they call him a sellout. He was reportedly almost in tears backstage because he was so upset by it.

- The latest on Rick Rude with WCW is that he still had lawsuits pending against WCW and against Sting personally over the back injury that ended his career a few years ago. Rude had to settle the lawsuits first before going back to WCW. Word is there's still a lot of personal heat between Sting and Rude, since Rude blames Sting for the injury.

- Sandman did a charity exibition boxing match with Philadelphia boxer Damon Feldman that ended after about 1 minute when Feldman hit Sandman with a left hook that turned him into Jell-O. Sandman showed up to an ECW show later that night and his face was clearly beat up from the boxing match.

- With the new Thunder show debuting in January, WCW plans to cancel the Saturday morning Main Event show along with the Sunday WCW Pro show. Nothing important ever happens on either of them anyway so it's no big loss.

- Ric Flair signed a new 3-year deal with WCW this week so he'll be with them until he's 52.

- Hogan's contract is up at the end of the year and with the made-for-TV movie success, the huge WCW success, and the huge buyrate for Halloween Havoc, Hogan is in a position to demand huge money wherever he wants to go but Dave thinks he'll stick with WCW. Dave says that people hate to hear it but Hogan is worth every penny he gets because he's proven to be worth more than that and then some when it comes to drawing money for WCW.

- Eric Bischoff took part in a Prodigy Online chat and ripped into Vince McMahon again. Let's just read it, shall we?

On the subject of WWF's adult content:
"I read a copy of his online chat where he compared the sexual content and racial content of his program, and he said he isn't doing things that haven't been done before and he singled out NYPD Blue. That's the kind of poor judgement that if he does go out of business, he has nobody to blame but himself. While NYPD Blue has exposed derrieres and sexual content, one only has to look at the advertisers that ABC includes in that programming and you'll see that clearly that program is targeted toward adults, while McMahon's programming is clearly targeted at children, in many cases children under 12 years old. For the USA Network and Vince McMahon to suggest that it's OK to produce programming with the degree to sexual content, racial overtones and in my opinion general bad taste while obviously selling their program to advertisers that are targeting children's toys and candy, I think it's nothing short of professional and social irresponsibility on the part of McMahon and the people who work with him, and the USA Network."

On the subject of creative control by wrestlers:
"Given the circumstances that we unfortunately all witnessed, or at least have knowledge of, with regards to the Bret Hart situation, it's clear to see why wrestlers would want creative control. If you can't trust the people you work with and for, it's very difficult to put your career in the hands of people who if given half a chance would attempt to ruin your career. Actors have an opportunity to look at a script before they accept a role, and then decide whether they want to risk their career with a specific script or director. Wrestling isn't like that, as we all know. There is a big difference. I think violation of trust is one of the things that has created the kind of atmosphere that I have heard exists in the WWF locker room."

- Gene Okerlund has lended his name to a small burger chain which is called Mean Gene's Burgers and they have 4 or 5 locations throughout the country (this ended up growing into a bit of a chain and lasted for years. I think there may still be a few of them floating around, but Okerlund isn't involved anymore and eventually got into a lawsuit with the food company he was working with over it).

- On Raw, they sent Harvey Wippleman out to the ring, dressed as Rick Rude and did an angle with that to basically bury Rude for jumping to WCW, with Michaels shoving Wippleman aside and saying, "That sure was a tough spot to fill."

- Luna Vachon returned to WWF, in a segment with Goldust where she sprayed alcohol in Vader's eyes to blind him.

- The medical examiner's office has released their final report on Brian Pillman, listing the cause of death as "natural causes due to arteriosclerotic heart disease." The autopsy showed that Pillman's heart had only been working at about 55% prior to his death.

- Harley Race reportedly called up Bret Hart after the screwjob to tell him he was proud of Bret for how he handled the situation and especially for punching out McMahon.

- Some notes on Adam Copeland, who recently signed with WWF and worked some dark matches: he's about 6'4 and 240 pounds and apparently looks a lot like Chris Jericho. He has been wrestling on the indies in Canada and Michigan for about 4 years.

- Dory Funk Jr. writes in to clear up the air about his tussle with Dan Severn and it's basically the same as what was reported. They had words over something Dory's wife did and then went to the ring to settle it (the cops had already been called and Dory figured they wouldn't be arrested when the cops showed up if they were in the ring wrestling). So they got in there and Dory admits that Severn was damn good but he also says he had Severn down a time or two before Severn finally got out of the ring and walked away. Someone else writes in and basically says Dory Funk should be glad Severn had enough respect for him to only stretch him a little and not flat out murder him with his bare hands, because he could have easily done it.

- Tons more letters about the Montreal situation this week. Most of them amount to fuck Vince McMahon, I'm never watching WWF again, he's a disgrace to wrestling, this is the beginning of the end for WWF, how will anyone who works for him ever trust Vince again, etc. A few people also write in to put blame on Bret and say he should have swallowed his ego and gone along with the boss's orders and whatnot. The "who was in the wrong?" debate that still carries on to this day has now begun.
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Edge in 93 is a weird thought.

Also, I used to live at Mean Gene's in Japan.

But I think the screwjob, regardless of who was right or wrong, kind of showed the difference between the WWF and WCW. The WWF took a shitshow and turned it into gold, whereas WCW was handed gold and fucking ruined it immediately.
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[+] 3 users Like Ceallach's post
Plus, it shows that Vince had total control over his show whereas it was a free for all in wcw with nearly half the roster having input and vetoing ideas and changing plans at the last minute. Mir had to have been a nightmare running creative for wcw

- WCW has booked Eric Bischoff vs. Larry Zbyszko at Starrcade with the winner getting control of Nitro and it appears to be Bischoff taking a gamble on messing with the winning Monday night formula. As mentioned before, the plan is for WCW and NWO to split into separate entities, with each having their own TV shows and running their own house shows, but coming together for major events. The idea is Bischoff winning, thus giving the NWO control of Nitro, but that could change. Turns out, even though Starrcade and the new Thursday show are only a few weeks away, WCW has shockingly little figured out when it comes to future plans. WCW is doing the best business in company history so of course, it's a risk to rock the boat this much. Dave lays out the planned announce teams (Bischoff, Rick Rude, Mike Tenay for NWO Nitro. Schiovane, Heenan, Zbyszko for WCW Thunder). And in fact, speaking of the name "Thunder", that may not be happening because ESPN owns a trademark on Thunder for a motor sports TV show.

- Dave talks about how much of a risk this is, moreso than when Bischoff began Nitro. Back in 1995, he had nothing to lose and everything to gain by taking on WWF head-to-head. Now, they're #1 and have everything to lose by trying to fix what isn't broken. Every time they have attempted to do NWO-themed programming, it's been a disaster. The NWO PPV was one of the worst PPVs ever and did a horrible buyrate. The 30-45 minute segments they've done sometimes on Nitro where the NWO takes over the show have been awful every time. Bischoff and Rude did commentary last week for 10 minutes and it was unbearble, etc. So it's a risk. Anyway, backstage, Kevin Nash has been pushing to get the Thursday show as the NWO show but no word on that.

- ECW's latest PPV November To Remember is in the books and answered a few questions. Is ECW a sustainable company that can probably have decent success on PPV? Yes. Is the company a legitimate threat to WWF or WCW? Absolutely not, Dave says. The show set all-time ECW records, drawing a sellout crowd of over 4,600 which is more than double what they've ever drawn before. It also set a gate record of over $100,000 plus another $40,000+ in merch sales, all of which are huge company records. It was a decent show but not great. There were also a ton of injuries. Tommy Rogers hurt his neck, Tommy Dreamer injured his good foot (other one was already injured) and had to be hospitalized after the show, Sandman injured his shoulder, his arm, and his ribs in his demolition derby of a match with Sabu, and Shane Douglas injured his elbow, which already needed surgery, but he made it worse. Stevie Richards made a surprise return to the company, and WWF wrestlers Al Snow, Brakkus, and Furnas & LaFon all made appearances. No Jenna Jameson or ICP. Before the PPV, Paul Heyman had negotiations with WCW about bringing in Chris Benoit. Word is they had made a deal for Benoit to work the show in exchange for Heyman not filing a lawsuit over the Raven/contract situation but for some reason, the deal fell through. Heyman also had negotiations with Dan Severn to maybe work a match with Taz but that also fell through. The Benoit thing is interesting because WWF wasn't thrilled with the idea. They feel like they give ECW free promotion and sends wrestlers to work their shows, and they don't want ECW bringing in any WCW people to be on the same show.

- Other notes from the show: Al Snow did a backstage interview talking to a mannequin head, full of insider references and jokes, referring to the Bret/Vince backstage fight. Dave thought it was hilarious but thinks it would go over a lot of people's heads, even the smarky ECW fanbase. Sabu vs. Sandman gets NEGATIVE 3.5 stars and Dave says it made the Hogan/Piper cage match look like Flair/Steamboat. Just every major spot blown, clumsy wrestling, and mindless stunts. Everyone expected Shane Douglas to get a huge hometown reaction, but he got a tepid, quiet reaction instead which shocked everyone.

- Dave reviews the latest AJPW TV show and gives the fabled DUD rating to 2 different matches. One of them is a tag match with Giant Baba and Dave says if Baba moves any slower, he'll be going in reverse. The other is a match involving Toshiaki Kawada, who has NINETEEN 5-star matches under his belt, but this one Dave says is probably the worst match of his career and earns him a DUD.

- Giant Baba turns 60 next month and was asked how long he plans to continue wrestling. He replied that he will never retire and will wrestle until the day he dies (almost. His last match was 2 months before he died and he spent those last months confined to a hospital bed with cancer).

- There's another weird gimmick in the Incredibly Strange Wrestling promotion. It's a wrestler who goes by the name HIV Kid and his gimmick is that he does run-ins and then clears the ring by openly blading himself and then chasing everyone off.

- On Nitro, referee Randy Anderson got hit in the head by a golf ball thrown by a fan and was hurting pretty badly for the rest of the night. Dave thinks WCW really needs to reign in the crowd and stop encouraging the behavior of fans throwing stuff.

- Alex Wright suffered some sort of injury or affliction after his match on Nitro 2 weeks ago. Dave doesn't have all the details but it was believed to maybe be some sort of brain aneurysm that left him blind in one eye for awhile and he was hospitalized (no idea on the details, but it must have been fairly serious. He didn't wrestle again for 6 months).

- Hogan is trying to get Yokozuna into WCW. "Remember, he still has a win he needs to get back," Dave says. But the state of New York revoked Yokozuna's wrestling license, which carries over to other states, so if they bring him in, he'd be unable to wrestle in over 20 other states, which is why WWF finally cut him loose.

- Sean Morley has had tryouts with both WWF and WCW in recent weeks. Eric Bischoff has reportedly told Morley that whatever WWF offers him, he'll match it or beat it.

- WWF Injury Report: Goldust had surgery on his broken hand and had 3 pins inserted in it so he'll be out for awhile. Ahmed Johnson was banged up in a car accident and will miss the PPV this week. Crush is out with a neck injury (and is also in a contract dispute with WWF) so he's off TV for now. Henry Godwinn is out following nasal surgery. And finally, Davey Boy Smith is getting knee surgery this week and depending on how intensive it is, he could be out for 6 months or longer. WWF is claiming that the injury was caused while trying to break up the Hart/Vince fight and if they decide to file a lawsuit against Hart (which has been discussed), they may try to pin the injury and surgery costs to Davey Boy on him as well.

- Steve Austin met with 2 more neck specialists this week. One told him that as long as he doesn't take any dangerous neck bumps, he should be fine. The other doctor still insisted that one wrong landing could result in paralysis and said he should retire. Austin is said to be a little freaked out by the diagnosis but he's still working short house show matches.

- Dan Severn had more negotiations with WWF and it looks like they want to do a Severn vs. Shamrock match at Wrestlemania. But Severn doesn't want to come in just to put over Shamrock so they offered him another storyline. Severn said he wants to get it in writing first so that's where it stands right now.

- Goldust's gimmick seems to be getting extreme, with him now having bright pink hair, wearing a spiked bra and thongs. He has a whole S&M gimmick going on with Luna Vachon and Dave won't be surprised if they lose sponsors over it sooner or later.

- Steve Austin is scheduled to face Rocky Maivia at the PPV for the IC title and Dave says the pop for Austin as a face and heat for Rocky as a heel is incredible. Looks like those 2 guys might do okay for themselves.

- Sable will be one of the ring-card girls at Oscar de la Hoya's fight on PPV this week. Butterbean also has a fight on the undercard of the show and they may film an angle between him and Marc Mero to build for their PPV match. Also, it appears Butterbean may have more than just a one-time deal with WWF (Sable is a ring girl for the Butterbean fight, you can see her a few times here and there. Not sure if she was shown during the de la Hoya fight).

- Vince McMahon is taking himself completely off commentary for now. He's done this in the past but he always ends up returning, so who knows if it will stick. For now, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler will handle announcing duties.

- At a house show in Cleveland, after the main event, Shawn Michaels got on the mic to rile up the crowd and said he heard that the fans in Cleveland have the worst aim. You can imagine how that went. One fan at ringside was hit with something and hurt but luckily that's all.

- Stevie Richards had a meeting with WWF and at the ECW show last week, he was telling people that they had offered him a spot in DX, but he turned it down. WWF sources confirm that Richards was offered a great spot in WWF, but didn't confirm if it was a role in DX (if this story is true and Richards actually turned it down, holy shit what a bad decision).

- Latest updates on the Montreal Screwjob: Bret Hart will appear on TSN's Off The Record show this week to address the issue. It's also been confirmed that both Earl and Dave Hebner were aware of the plans well in advance, contrary to rumors that Earl found out just before going to the ring. That means Earl had plenty of time to warn Bret if he'd chosen to, but he obviously decided against it. Earl had all his gear packed and ready to go and Dave Hebner was in the car waiting to drive Earl away as soon as it happened. Also, while it was believed Pat Patterson must have known because he suggested the sharpshooter spot, it looks like he may have actually not known. Reportedly, Vince came up with the sharpshooter spot and told Patterson to pass the word on, but he didn't know the real plans. So who really knows. For what it's worth, the idea that Bret refused to drop the title and that McMahon was in the right seems to be gaining traction in the locker room. It's one of those repeat-a-lie-long-enough-and-it-becomes-the-truth situations, with several people in the locker room being fed the propaganda from Vince's side, and obviously Bret isn't around anymore to defend himself. But a lot of people in the WWF locker room are reportedly turning on Bret and choosing to believe Vince's side of the story now.

- Shawn Michaels did an interview with a Charleston newspaper and was quoted saying the following about Bret Hart: "At one time Bret was a fantastic wrestler. But I've been in the ring with a lot of people. He ranks up there with exceptionally average. His brother Owen is ten times the talent he is. The man's very different. He sees the wrestling business very differently. He really believes he's a hero in Canada. We all love the feeling you get when you have the adulation of the fans, but you have to learn to control that. This is the wrestling business. This isn't real life. My God. Get a grip. I've never had a problem with Bret Hart. He mostly had a problem with me. There's nothing I can really do about that. I'm just having fun and trying to be entertaining and controversial. Bret is from the old school, which is fine, but obviously it doesn't mix. He takes it much more seriously than I do. You should be able to have fun at your job. I don't take things that seriously. I didn't even have a problem when he attacked me in the dressing room. I just defended myself and that was it, I left. The situation got out of hand. At that time I needed to stay away--my good old fake knee injury. Bret was harboring a lot of bitter, bitter feelings that were really his problems. He's the guy who has to work through them. Not us. The world should know this was not Bret Hart leaving, this was Vince McMahon asking him to leave. He simply didn't feel Bret was giving what he was getting. He was always late. He only did personal appearances in Canada when he felt like it. As WWF champion, I did everything. The Undertaker still does everything. Steve Austin does everything. There's a lot of legwork that comes with working in the WWF. Bret didn't want to do any of it. It wasn't convenient for him. He wanted, he wanted, he wanted but he wasn't willing to give."

- Letters section is more of the same. All about Montreal, most people still saying fuck Vince, I'm never watching again, etc. But there does seem to be a quietly growing contingent of people who are also in the "Bret should have just done what he was told" camp. The backlash on Bret is slowly building.
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Lol @ Shawn saying Cleveland fans have bad aim. I know this id's way before the beer bottle inncident in the NFL but holy fuck that's just asking for it
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When I posted this on Reddit, someone who was at that show responded and said he remembered it and says that Shawn also said, "No wonder this city lost the World Series."

That was less than 2 months after they had lost in Game 7. I can only imagine the heat he was getting.
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HBK is sooooooooooo full of shit in that interview. Investing in Shawn was the wrong choice.

Granted had he gone to WCW he may not have been hurt and may not have retired in 98. But a full kliq in WCW may have killed it sooner.

But in a perfect world I would have gotten heel Bret vs Austin rubber match in 98 or 99.
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[+] 1 user Likes Ceallach's post
Don’t threaten Zach with a good time
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[+] 1 user Likes tehgiftofgab's post
austin vs rock IC title feud was so great. that was when rock really started coming into his own. i was way more into that feud than the world title feuds at the time
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- Vince McMahon has turned himself heel in the wake of the heat he got for the Montreal screwjob and on Raw, he confronted Steve Austin playing the role of a dictatorial boss. They also referred to Rocky Maivia as "the people's champion" and showed McMahon plotting to cost Austin the IC title.

- There's been a lot more fallout from the Montreal situation behind the scenes. To try to soothe hard feelings, Vince McMahon gave Owen Hart a huge raise to return to the company and work a top feud with Shawn Michaels. Jim Neidhart, who wasn't under contract, has jumped ship to WCW with Bret. And Davey Boy Smith, who just had knee surgery, was offered his release but it hasn't been agreed to yet but he's likely headed to WCW soon (more on that in the coming weeks). Bret Hart and Vince McMahon also had a phone conversation this week, the first time they've spoken since Survivor Series, and it was not at all cordial. Bret wanted Vince to release Owen from his contract, Vince refused, and it led to Vince threatening Bret with a lawsuit for contract interference if he tries to negotiate a WCW deal for Owen, and also threatening to sue him for assault (man, what I wouldn't give to have the NSA recording of that phone conversation).

- Bret Hart gave several interviews this week, on TSN's Off The Record show and a Prodigy Online internet interview, and he tore into WWF. Among the highlights from the interviews: he thinks Jim Neidhart shouldn't have gone along with the angle with DX on Raw a couple of weeks ago, and thinks they buried Neidhart out of spite for Bret. He thanked Mick Foley for standing up for him and boycotting Raw the night after. Claimed Shawn Michaels was crying and weeping like a baby in the dressing room after the screwjob. He also said he knew he would sound like a hypocrite now, but he called Ric Flair one of the best wrestlers ever. He said he's regretted some of his past comments about Flair and only said that Flair wasn't the best he's ever worked with but he didn't mean to be insulting. He said he's wanted to apologize to Flair for a long time. He also blamed his issues with Hogan on Vince McMahon filling his head with lies (about Hogan quitting WWF in 1993 rather than putting over Bret) and said he looks forward to talking to Hogan and getting the real story. Said he would never attend a WWF Hall of Fame ceremony if he were inducted. Said he wasn't proud of punching McMahon but given the circumstances, it could have gone worse. Said he hadn't let his children watch Raw since the Melanie Pillman interview. Said that forcing Owen into doing an angle based on the screwjob would be like "a pimp forcing someone into prostitution." And finally, he talked about Earl Hebner, and that's worth reading the full quote:

Quote:"I know that people think that Earl Hebner was just doing his job. Maybe he was. But all he had to do was tell me that the day before as a friend and a man of his word. I told him if he was uncomfortable with me to just say so and that I wouldn't hold it against him, because I suspected something like this was being drawn up. He got tears in his eyes and told me he could never do something like that, and he swore on his children that he would never let it happen and he'd quit his job first. We talked for over a half-hour and I left that room, the bathroom in Detroit, feeling in my heart that he was a close friend and no matter what pressure Vince McMahon put to bear on him, he would never be a part of or be involved in a conspiracy to tear down a guy with the reputation as good as mine. When I finally saw the match back, when I came home, nothing broke my heart more than seeing Earl Hebner sell me out without even any hesitation. It's one thing to get screwed over by my enemies. I already sensed who they were and what they had in mind. But it's a much more hurtful thing when you get screwed over by a very good friend. I hear Earl Hebner is drinking himself into oblivion racked with guilt for the role he played, and all I can say is, "Have another drink on me, Earl, keep biting your nails like your buddy Shawn and keep looking over your shoulder because sooner or later what goes around comes around."

- For whatever reason, Dave doesn't cover the TSN Off The Record interview at all and never does that I can see unless I totally missed it. But it's basically more of the same. Here's part of the interview, I can't find the rest:

- In the ratings battle, WCW won again, but when Nitro ended, the Raw ratings went up almost a full point, which shows that while WCW fans are still loyal to their product, they're at least curious enough to start watching Raw now. It's good news for WWF (this is the start of the turnaround. It's all uphill from here).

- UFC and WWF have been negotiating to possibly have a Ken Shamrock vs. Nobuhiko Takada match at UFC's show in Japan. With WWF's approval, Shamrock has signed on for the match and UFC announced it on their website the next day. But it was never mentioned on Raw that night, despite WWF agreeing to promote the fight. As for Takada, he's been telling people in the media that he's still dealing with injuries and denied that he'll be fighting on the UFC show at all. So now it's unknown if Shamrock will face a different opponent or maybe won't fight at all. UFC initially offered WWF $100,000 to use Shamrock but they turned it down because they didn't want to risk him getting hurt because they have big plans for him. So then UFC tried to get Vader, but WWF eventually turned that down too and that was the end of the discussion for awhile. But then Takada reportedly said he would only fight on the show if it was against Shamrock, so UFC more than doubled their initial offer and suddenly, WWF was interested. After some negotiations, it's believed Shamrock signed on to the fight for around $250,000. But now with Takada possibly out of the picture, the whole thing is in jeopardy.

- WWF's latest PPV In Your House: D-Generation X is in the books and much like the WCW's NWO PPV earlier this year, it was awful. On the pre-show, they had Jim Cornette out there hawking last-minute PPV buys because Sunny is out with a broken foot (stepped on by a horse). Dave also notes that the steroid issue in WWF is clearly worse now than it has been since before the trial. The Marc Mero vs. Butterbean match was ridiculous. Because of all the legal red tape, they couldn't call it a boxing match due to regulations and commissions, so they had to call it a Toughman Contest. If it had been a real fight, Mero (who has real boxing experience) actually looked like he would have won because Butterbean looked terrible and exhausted by the end of it. HHH vs. Sgt. Slaughter gets negative-2 stars. Jeff Jarrett was basically buried by both Kane and Undertaker. Steve Austin got by far the biggest pop of the show. Owen Hart made a "surprise" return at the end, attacking Shawn Michaels. Everything else sucked.

- WWF is trying to open up a working relationship with AJPW, because they want to run a major show in Japan next year. That's part of the reason why the Blackjacks were sent to work the AJPW tag tournament. So far, nothing has been established, but the 2 sides are talking. AJPW is still considering running their first ever major show in the Tokyo Dome, so it's possible that a relationship with WWF could lead to some cross-promotional matches on that show, if/when it happens.

- Vampiro is talking about quitting AAA and jumping to Promo Azteca. Apparently, Vampiro is supposed to be making $85,000 per year in AAA but he's been shorted on his paychecks just a few weeks after starting. If he does leave, it will be his 3rd jump from a promotion in the last 4 months.

- Michinoku Pro star Great Sasuke has been booked for a match at the NJPW Jan. 4th Tokyo Dome show, but it probably won't happen. WCW has been pressuring NJPW not to use Sasuke since he has been working with ECW. It's expected that NJPW will cave and that Ultimo Dragon will likely wrestle in Sasuke's place (yup).

- Keiji Muto is talking about wanting to do a champion vs. champion match in WCW, with his IWGP title against either Hogan or Sting, after the Starrcade match.

- Antonio Inoki is talking about doing an NWO-like gimmick with him as a heel manager of a stable of shoot fighters in NJPW. Dave also talks about the Zen faction in FMW and basically says it's amazing how pretty much every wrestling promotion in the world has tried to copy the NWO gimmick in some way or another.

- There's a huge story in Taipei, Taiwan that's loosely wrestling related. The 17-year-old daughter of Ikki Kajiwara was kidnapped and murdered recently in what has become the most publicized crime in the history of the island. Kajiwara is the creator of the Tiger Mask cartoon and comic book character, which later became an NJPW wrestler. Anyway, his daughter was kidnapped and they sent a ransom note to the family which also contained the daughter's severed pinky finger. The family wanted to pay the ransom, but they also contacted police, and when the kidnappers found out the police were involved, they killed the daughter. The case has led to several Taiwan government officials resigning after national protests. (Here's the Wikipedia page for it and yeah, this story is fucked up: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Pai_Hsiao-yen)

- XL Sports, the company owned by Mark Selker that purchases 55% ownership of USWA, has filed for bankruptcy after dropping their lawsuit against Jerry Lawler and Larry Burton.

- At the next UFC PPV, there will be a new play-by-play guy named Mike Goldberg. Dave doesn't know anything about him.

- ECW's November To Remember PPV looks to have done about a 0.20 buyrate, which is basically in line with the previous 2 PPVs. If ECW can average this same number every time out, it should be good enough to stay profitable and keep the shows coming.

- ECW Injury Report: Kronus injured his hand in a match and needed 15 stitches and also broke some knuckles. He'll be out for a few weeks. Sabu did a moonsalt and ended up hitting his mouth on the leg of the table, and people who saw it said it was the sickest injury they've seen. Sabu was spitting out blood and pieces of his shattered teeth but he finished the match. And then instead of going to the hospital, he superglued some of his teeth back in, taped his mouth up "like Hannibal Lecter" and still wrestled the next night. Shane Douglas is out for a month after having elbow surgery.

- After cutting off ties with WWF, Atsushi Onita is now trying to get a relationship going with ECW. Onita still wants to do an exploding ring barbed wire match in the U.S. and is hopeful he can get it on an ECW PPV in 1998 (Onita spends years chasing this dream).

- Al Snow is really getting over in ECW with his new mannequin head gimmick, with the crowd chanting "Give me head!" when he comes out.

- WCW still hasn't figured out their plans for the Monday and Thursday shows when it comes to figuring out which will be a WCW show and which will be NWO. The Larry Zbyszko vs. Eric Bischoff match at Starrcade will determine which group gets control of Nitro and the loser is expected to get the other show. But that seems to be as far as they have figured out so far and time is running out.

- There's been talk of turning Ric Flair heel and pairing him up with Debra McMichael, sorta like his old heel 80s gimmick where he's surrounded by beautiful women. The problem is WCW fans don't want to boo Flair these days.

- On a WCW internet show, Gene Okerlund finally apologized for saying Brian Pillman died of a cocaine overdose. He then undermined that apology by saying he got the information from an AP news report, which of course, is false because there was no such report. Okerlund had initially claimed he got the info from sources in the Minnesota police dept. but that's pretty obviously bullshit also. TL;DR - Okerlund just made the shit up.

- The newest member of Raven's group is named Lodi. They were originally going to call him Skank but Bischoff vetoed the name.

- DDP and Marcus Bagwell's mother (JUDY!) put together an indie show at a local high school in Georgia with the proceeds going to Brian Pillman's family. Several WCW wrestlers worked the show, along with some other indie names.

- Bret Hart may be debuting on WCW TV this week, but it's not for sure. There's also some question over whether he can use the "Hitman" nickname.

- WCW referee Scott Dickinson was taken off TV and ordered to lose 25 pounds because on Nitro a couple weeks ago, Scott Hall picked him up and his shirt came up, which revealed a belly bigger than WCW wanted I guess. So he's been off TV and has reportedly already dropped 18 pounds. He should be back on TV next month.

- Kevin Sullivan will be getting married at the end of the month (I guess the Nancy divorce has already gone through).

- Syxx will be out of action for several more months after recently having neck surgery.

- Dave says that Dusty Rhodes has been noticeably bitter on TV in recent weeks because he's basically been demoted to doing commentary on the throwaway syndicated B-shows and he's not happy about it.

- Matt and Barry Hardy (lol) worked a dark match before this week's Raw (which Dave dubs "Raw Is Jerry Springer"). They took their usual great bumps and it looks like one of them might have gotten hurt on a spot, but he recovered and they finished out okay. And then in the tapings for next week's Raw, they worked a handicap match against Kurrgan and were impressive there also.

- Letters section: Vince was in the wrong, Bret was in the wrong, etc. To one of these letters, Dave writes a LONG response detailing all the ways that this fiasco was 100% Vince's fault. Basically, he never should have let it get to this point in the first place, and also noting that Bret had creative control written into his contract, so he was perfectly within his rights to have a say in how he finished out with WWF. Also, letters from people complaining about all the soap opera-ness of WWF, people saying they're already tired of DX, and so on and so forth.

Only 2 more posts for 1997. Then I'm taking 2 weeks off before starting 1998.

And 1998 will only be posted M-W-F instead of every weekday.
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Let's get to page 6 for the last 2 posts of 1997
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Speaking of, reminder...
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Taking 2 weeks off after I finish 1997
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