Wrestling Observer Newsletter Rewind Thread • 1998
ya i thought so too
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Lawler mentions near the end NAO are the new members of DX.
No one has ever given a shit what Billy Gunn did at any given point of time.
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- Antonio Inoki wrestled his alleged final match this week and officially retired at a huge show in the Tokyo Dome in front of a crowd announced as 70,000 fans (though Dave says you simply can't pack that many people in the Tokyo Dome so the actual number is less than that, but it was legit sold out) and a gate of around $7 million (plus another $2.6 million in merch). Add in the TV rights they were paid and the show generated more than $10 million. Muhammad Ali appeared at the show, lighting a ceremonial torch and handing it to Inoki as he made his entrance. Several other historical wrestling figures who have been associated with Inoki throughout his career were also there. The show received worldwide coverage, including USA Today and CNN here in America. From here, Dave goes into a MUCH more in-depth recap of Inoki's life and career than he did last week. His early life in Brazil, training with Rikidozan alongside Giant Baba, the formation of NJPW, the bitter war with AJPW, the shoot fight with Ali, his 1983 embezzlement scandal, jumping into politics and surviving an assassination attempt in 1989, meetings with Fidel Castro, his role in negotiating the release of Japanese hostages in Iraq, another financial scandal in the early 90s, organizing the 1995 North Korea shows that "drew" the largest crowds of all time, and the legacy of things that Inoki innovated or popularized in wrestling (interpromotional angles, mixed martial arts, worked shoot angles, etc.). Point being, Inoki's life story is worthy of multiple books. Oh, as for the show itself, Inoki defeated Don Frye in the main event and Tatsumi Fujinami also won the IWGP title for a record 5th time in the semi-main event (as huge as this was, for some reason I can't find video anywhere. Maybe my google-fu sucks today).

- Wrestlemania 14 is expected to wind up as one of the biggest money shows in the history of pro wrestling. The buyrate is estimated to be between 1.76 and 2.27 depending on who you believe, which when you consider the price of PPV is looking to be huge money for WWF and their biggest buyrate in a long time (things are starting to come up Milhouse for WWF).

- The Monday night ratings war is getting interesting now that WWF has closed the gap and ratings records are being set nearly every other week. Nitro just barely beat Raw this week but WCW's 80+ week winning streak is definitely in danger (I believe WWF finally beats them next week).

- Pro wrestling was part of another negative front page New York Times story this week, which was also published in newspapers throughout the country. The article was about TV ratings going up while good taste plummets. Along with wrestling, the article also talked about shows like Comedy Central's new hit show South Park, the WB's Dawson's Creek, and the Jerry Springer Show. WCW has been frequently annoyed by this sort of news coverage because they often get lumped into the same category as WWF, despite WCW not being nearly as violent or lewd and adult themed as WWF.

- Pretty much none of the other promotions in Japan ran any big angles or matches this week because of all the Inoki retirement media coverage. They realized that anything they did would be lost in the shuffle of all the Inoki publicity, so they all pretty much just kept quiet.

- Rob Van Dam won the ECW TV Title from Bam Bam Bigelow last week in a match that many said was by far the best ECW match of the year (he would hold on to that title for the next 700 days and become the longest reigning champion of any title in ECW history).

- Shane Douglas isn't fully healed from the recent elbow surgery he had and apparently the healing has gone so poorly that he will need another surgery in May, so they're working an angle with he and Taz which is expected to lead to Taz injuring Douglas for awhile. While he's out, Douglas will be joining Joey Styles on commentary.

- Sandman's frankensteiner off the top rope will be renamed the Drunkensteiner.

- "Joel Gertner is awesome." That's it. That got its own line from Dave.

- Randy Savage reportedly suffered a torn ACL in the match with Sting that was mentioned last week. They did an angle with him on Nitro to explain why he wasn't there. He's expected to get surgery that will probably keep him out for 6 months or more. Savage was scheduled to face Sting at the Spring Stampede PPV next week and is expected to be there, but it'll probably be some kind of an angle. It was believed Savage was booked to win the title from Sting but given the injury, that's obviously out the window now. They're waiting on Eric Bischoff to get back from Japan (he was at the Inoki show) to make a decision on what to do (Savage still works the match and even wins the title but he does it basically on one leg. Finally has the surgery in June and is out for almost a year. But yes, Savage works on a torn ACL for the next 2 months).

- WCW Injury Report: aside from Savage, Davey Boy Smith also blew out his knee on Nitro, no word how bad it is but he could barely stand for the rest of the match. Scott Norton blew out his knee on the same show but it didn't appear to be as bad as Smith's. Eddie Guerrero has also been out with a knee injury which is why he's doing the angle where he makes Chavo work all his matches for him. Sting has a banged up hip but is still wrestling because they're so shorthanded with everyone else being hurt. But there's some question of how hurt Sting is, since he claims to be hurting so bad but on a recent day off, he was out playing golf, which led some to say that Sting is just trying to get some time off and isn't as hurt as he says. Scott Hall is still out for personal reasons. He's not technically in rehab but is instead apparently doing some sort of outpatient counseling 3 hours a day.

- Speaking of Scott Hall, it's no secret that he and Nash are wanting out of WCW. Apparently they have gotten "informal word" (gotta be careful about contract tampering) that if they can somehow get out of their WCW contracts, there would be a $1.5 million-per-year deal waiting for each of them in WWF. But they still have almost 4 years left on their WCW deals, so that's unlikely.

- It's expected that Goldberg may feud with Steve McMichael over who gets the 4th spot in the new Four Horsemen group they're talking about creating, with Goldberg ultimately getting the gig. The idea is to create a new Horsemen made up of Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Dean Malenko, and Goldberg and have them managed by Arn Anderson. They're also talking about creating a Canadian group of Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Davey Boy Smith, and Chris Benoit to feud with the Horsemen. Dave thinks they should just scrap the Canadian group idea and make the new Horsemen be Flair, Goldberg, Benoit, and Hart (holy shit what a group that would have been).

- Hulk Hogan's real nephew Horace Boulder should be starting with WCW soon. Dave says he can't wait until Hogan's son Nick turns 18 so they can hire him too and make him cruiserweight champion or something.

- Dennis Rodman is expected to work the WCW Bash at the Beach PPV since he still has 1 match left on his 3-match WCW contract.

- Bischoff did an online chat this week, answering fan questions and whatnot, Of note, he strongly denied that Ultimate Warrior would ever work in WCW (Dave doesn't know if that's true or not but he did hear rumors that Bischoff's meeting with Warrior didn't go well so it might be true).

- When the subject of Sean Waltman came up, Bischoff was brutally honest and had this to say: "I hired Sean Waltman because of Hall and Nash. And I basically terminated Scan Waltman because of a combination of Hall and Nash, and Waltman's neck injury. Both Scott Hall and Kevin Nash have a track record, both in the WWF and here in WCW of being fairly disruptive in the locker room. I made it clear to Scott Hall on the very first day he came back that one of the things I was most proud and protective of in WCW was that the locker room and the production team was a pretty positive environment. Not to say there weren't problems from time to time, but by and large our locker room is a positive place to be. I pointed that out to Scott Hall because of his track record in the WWF and told him I didn't want him to bring that over to WCW. I brought Sean Waltman in more as a gesture to Kevin and Scott in an effort to create a positive environment and to make them as comfortable as possible. I thought that might be a way to help achieve that. Because of what I consider to be negative and disruptive behavior on their part, it became clear to me that there was nothing I could do to create a positive environment for them, and in light of the fact that Waltman was down with injuries more than he was able to work while with WCW, it no longer made sense to carry one of their friends under contract when it served absolutely no purpose. Had Sean been healthy and able to perform, I probably wouldn't have cut him loose. In light of his neck injury, it was a decision I felt it was time to make."

- Latest on Shawn Michaels: he never went to see a doctor after his Wrestlemania match so it doesn't look like he aggravated the injury, which was a concern. He went into the match with 2 herniated discs. Shawn is expected to take some time off to heal up "and hopefully get his other problems under control." Dave says that in the weeks up to Mania, people backstage were calling him "Louie" as a reference to Louie Spicolli since his pill problem is getting so bad. There's no timetable on how long he'll be out. If rest and rehab doesn't work, he may need back surgery which will keep him out much longer.

- Earl Hebner is still hospitalized in ICU after suffering a brain aneurysm the night before Wrestlemania. Word is he's starting to get his memory back, as he was unable to recognize friends and family initially.

- WWF has no plans to use Mike Tyson again now that the angle has wrapped up. At the post-WM press conference, Tyson referred to Michaels as "Steve Michaels" which is up there with his Royal Rumble promo calling Austin "Cold Stone Steve Austin."

- Butterbean still has one contracted appearance left in WWF, though it's unknown when they'll bring him back (in about a year...)

- John Tenta is being brought back to WWF, but will likely be given a new gimmick as a masked wrestler.
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- We start with all the crazy behind-the-scenes turmoil in WCW, as about a dozen different stories are brewing. Despite their dominance for the last year and a half, Dave seems to already be seeing the writing on the wall, saying that these sort of issues are what crippled the once-thriving NJPW during the 80s.

- The biggest story is the future of Ric Flair in WCW. Flair had been announced to appear on Thunder last week in an angle where he would reform the Four Horsemen, which would include Bill Goldberg, himself, Lex Luger, and likely Dean Malenko (but Dave offhandedly mentions that Malenko is trying to get out of his contract so it might not have ended up being him. More on that in a bit). But Flair had already made plans to go see his 9-year-old son Reid wrestle in his amateur wrestling competition. Flair insisted he had gotten the time off cleared months ago but Bischoff disagreed and was furious when Flair didn't show up and was talking about firing or suspending Flair. A few days later at Nitro, Bischoff held a backstage meeting with the wrestlers. Bischoff has already got a lot of heat for firing Sean Waltman for no good reason and for essentially being an asshole to everyone in the company other than Hogan. Bischoff even recently admitted that he had become an asshole after his friend DDP confronted him about it and promised he was going to try to be nicer to talent. He then went on to give a speech completely burying Flair, saying that everyone knows Flair isn't a man of his word and promising to make an example of him. Dave thinks it would be insane for them to fire Flair, since that would be handing WWF a huge coup. WCW's website was given word to remove all references to Flair (this turns into one of the biggest ongoing stories of 1998).

- Flair's future isn't the only one in question, as several other WCW wrestlers are also wanting out. Chris Jericho, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, Meng, Scotty Riggs, and Scott Hall were all backstage at a recent ECW show, mostly just visiting since the 2 promotions were in the same town. Malenko and Guerrero were openly talking to people in ECW about wanting out of their WCW contracts, which end in Nov. 99. Malenko in particular has his lawyer working on getting him out. Chris Jericho's contract expires sooner and he also wants out. Then there's Chris Benoit, who's contract also expires in Nov. 99. Paul Heyman wants Chris Benoit in ECW more than anyone because he wants to make him the ECW champion and believes he can make Benoit a superstar. WWF is also interested in Rey Mysterio Jr. who's contract is up in a couple of months, but given how much WWF has squandered smaller guys (including turning Taka Michinoku into a joke), it probably wouldn't bode well for Mysterio in WWF.

- As for why Scott Hall was backstage at the ECW show, it was near where he lives and he was visiting his friend Justin Credible. When Hall was backstage, he was confronted by Shane Douglas, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Chris Candido, all of whom had well-known problems with Hall back in the WWF days. It was said to be a tense situation, with Douglas in particular getting in Hall's face and screaming at him and Bigelow backing him up, saying they didn't want him in the ECW locker room. Hall eventually called a cab and left after a few minutes, and as he was leaving, Francine yelled at him to get in line and buy a ticket like the rest of the marks. This led to a funny moment where Tommy Dreamer then walked in the room as Hall was leaving and, not aware of the tense situation that was happening, jovially offered Hall a ride home.

- WWF finally ended WCW's 83-week ratings winning streak with arguably the hottest 2-hour show in company history. WCW has been producing stale TV for the last month, while WWF has been riding an incredible wave of momentum and they've been closing the gap with WCW for weeks. This week, Raw set multiple ratings records, highlighted by Steve Austin challenging Vince McMahon to a match, with Austin having one hand tied behind his back. I expected Dave to have more to say about this.

- Memphis wrestling returns to its traditional live Saturday morning TV spot this week with the first episode of the new Power Pro Wrestling promotion. Live wrestling has been a tradition on Saturday mornings in Memphis dating back to the 1960s until the demise of USWA last year. The idea is to only run shows within a 100 mile radius of Memphis. Dave recaps the history of Memphis wrestling before diving deep into the latest on all the legal issues. XL Sports is suing Larry Burton, his wife and son, Jerry Lawler, Stacy Carter (Lawler's girlfriend), an attorney that USWA used, Barry Bloom (sports agent), other assistants and TV people, and even Jerry Lawler's mom, who held a minority interest in USWA. This is a loooooooong story and it all gets really messy and complicated but it's also super interesting. I'm leaving out a TON of stuff here. Anyway, XL Sports paid $1.1 million for 55% of USWA (immediately after Lawler had just bought Jerry Jarrett's half for less than $200,000). XL Sports claims Burton and Lawler fudged the numbers to make the company look more valuable on paper than it actually was. Burton himself is an interesting story, as it turns out he has at least 22 known arrests under various names all over America, many of them for violent crimes, but also some financial and fraud charges, including trying to use someone else's social security number to receive death benefits. He met Lawler in 1993 and even was occasionally called in to the WWF to do favors (Dave says Burton was one of the people who helped set up the area where Roddy Piper and Goldust had their backlot brawl at WM12). Dave goes into a ton of detail on all the meetings leading up to the sale, WWF and Vince McMahon's pretty significant role in it, ECW's small role, and all the ways that Burton pretty obviously lied his ass off to defraud these people. TL;DR - Larry Burton was an absolute fucking snake and Lawler was...probably complicit, but I guess it couldn't quite be proven in court. But seriously, this one paragraph isn't really doing the story justice, it's one that's worth going to the archives and reading in full if you're into this sort of legal mumbo jumbo.

- TV-Asahi in Japan did a weird thing when it came to airing Antonio Inoki's retirement show. They aired a 2-hour show called Antonio Inoki: This Is Your Life with actors doing dramatic re-enactments of Inoki's life story in between airing clips of Inoki's famous moments and then highlights of him arriving to the arena for his final match and all that stuff. The presence of Muhammad Ali was heavily hyped but when they showed him, it was sad to see, since Parkinson's has done a number on the former boxer, with someone having to literally hold his hand and walk him out. It was made even worse when he stood next to Inoki, who basically doesn't age, and made Ali look even more frail and feeble. The show was capped off with the Inoki/Frye match, which was fine for what it was (a 4-minute worked shoot basically). Surprisingly, the show didn't do nearly as well in the ratings as everyone thought, which was a shock considering how much of a cultural icon Inoki is in Japan. (Here's a video that has some highlights near the end of the Inoki retirement show).

- Dave talks about Mitsuharu Misawa's health. He turns 36 soon and has been wrestling at a high level basically his entire life, dating back to amateur wrestling as a kid. And in AJPW, missing matches for anything less than hospitalization is strongly frowned upon. As a result, Misawa's body is breaking down on him. He's currently working with serious neck and back issues, plus a broken finger and last week he suffered a broken kneecap and still didn't miss a show. Finally doctors have told him he needs surgery, which would cause him to miss 6 weeks and miss the rest of the Carnival Champion tournament, which he's heavily figured into the finals of. The tournament was already thrown into disarray when Akira Taue had to pull out due to a serious knee injury. So it's unknown for now if Misawa is going to have the surgery he needs or if he will keep working, but he's basically falling apart.

- Sid Vicious won't be working in Power Pro Wrestling after a falling out with Jerry Lawler and promoter Randy Hales. Sid has a friend who is a 6'10 black guy and he wanted to bring him in and work an angle with him. The gimmick would be that Sid would bring the guy out in chains. Lawler and Hales pointed out how that might not be the best idea. Sid also wanted to help book the promotion and they turned him down for that too. So he walked.

- Welsh wrestler Adrian Street may have had his career come to an end this week at an indie show in Alabama. He was taking a flying cross body but Street didn't have his footing and when the guy landed on him, it tore his knee to shreds. Street had major surgery the next day and the recovery is said to be anywhere from 12-18 months. Considering Street is almost 60 years old, this is probably the end of the road for him (nope! He came back and wrestled periodically until 2010, although not much).

- Jake Roberts is reportedly working on an autobiography (never happened but man, I can only imagine the stories he could tell).

- A promotion called Can Am Wrestling Federation is running shows in Calgary and Edmonton using several former Stampede wrestlers as the top stars. They also have a member of the Hart family on the roster, Teddy Hart who is Bret's nephew.

- The Bushwhackers worked an ECW show this week, using the name Bushwhackin' Dudleys. They were only brought in as a one-time deal though.


- Sandman and Sabu were suspended by ECW for a few days, causing them to miss the weekend shows. It apparently is due to a recent incident where several hotel rooms registered to them were trashed, causing all ECW wrestlers to be banned from the hotel. Others were involved too, but Sandman and Sabu ended up taking the heat and had to pay for the damages. They were only suspended for those few shows and have since already been brought back.

- D-Von Dudley was injured over the weekend from "taking a nut shot a little too hard from New Jack."

- On WCW Thunder, a fan jumped the barricade and grabbed Raven by the hair during his promo, dragging him out of the ring before he could be tackled by security. And a few days later, another fan jumped the rail at Nitro while Raven was cutting a promo in the aisle and tackled him. Security jumped in and pulled the guy off and held him down as the cameras cut away. Not a good week to be Raven (I'm pretty sure the first one was legit but I think they eventually made an angle of it. So I don't think the 2nd one on Nitro was legit).

- Jesse Ventura, who is running for governor, was in attendance at Nitro in Minneapolis. He was never mentioned or shown on TV, but he was all over the building shaking hands and kissing babies and whatnot. He also brought a camera crew with him to document it which WCW wasn't happy about but they ultimately allowed. There were crowd chants for Ventura throughout the show.

- WCW Injury Update: Rick Martel is expected back in about 3 months after his recent knee injury. Hector Garza just had knee surgery and will be out until October. Randy Savage is expected to work the PPV but will probably have surgery afterward. Davey Boy Smith injured his knee recently but is still expected to work the PPV.

- Hogan's new movie 3 Ninjas: High Noon At Mega Mountain was a spectacular bomb, opening at #33 in its first weekend. It got bad reviews too, but that's nothing new since all of Hogan's movies get bad reviews but none of them have opened this poorly before.

- Ricky Steamboat has threated Ultimo Dragon with a lawsuit over the name Dragon, which Steamboat has apparently had trademarked for usage as a pro wrestler for years. So if Ultimo Dragon ends up changing names, that will be why (nothing ever really came of this).

- WCW finally got around to releasing some Bill Goldberg merch this week and, no surprise, it sold like crazy. Goldberg shirts alone counted for nearly 20% of the merch sold at Nitro last week.

- As mentioned a few weeks back, there was a porn movie released called Nude World Order. Well, funny enough, there was even a small reference to the Observer in the film, although they gave it a different name "so as to not make my reputation any worse." Dave says he didn't even find out about it until after the movie was made and someone told him. Anyway, looks like it was successful because there are plans to do a Nude World Order II (man, I can't find either of these but this sounds hilarious).

- Wrestlemania looks to have done around a 2.3 buyrate and is around 720,000 buys which would be the largest WWF PPV gross in history. Dave says a lot of the wrestlers will be getting some huge payoffs pretty soon from that show.

- They did an injury angle on Raw with Chainz from DOA. The reason is because just before Wrestlemania, he showed up to work "in no condition to perform" and was sent home. He was almost fired but was spared since he's friends with Undertaker and was allowed to work his scheduled WM match. But now the injury angle was done to send him home for a couple of weeks, I guess as a suspension.

- Earl Hebner is still in ICU after his recent brain aneurysm but is apparently improving.

- WWF has talked about bringing in porn star Jenna Jameson as Val Venis' manager when he debuts. She has made a few appearances for ECW (she eventually appears in one of his taped vignettes but never live).

- Shawn Michaels took part in a parade in San Antonio this weekend. As for his WWF career, it's basically on hold right now due to his injury. There's also a lot of behind-the-scenes problems with Shawn that need to be addressed before he returns. Now that they managed to convince him to do a job and got the belt off of him, they don't seem to be in a hurry to bring him back.

- Steve Regal has signed with WWF. although he can't be used until his no-compete clause with WCW expires which is another 3 months. WWF is planning to challenge that. But they're not rushing to get him in the ring because they want him to lose weight and get back in shape first. Regal is good friends with Steve Austin and is expected to be put into a storyline with him, so they want him in top-notch main event condition (this doesn't work out so well for Regal).

- Longtime jobber Scott Taylor is finally being given a gimmick. They will give him the nickname "Too Hot" and he will team with Brian Christopher, who will have the nick name "Too Sexy."

- Here's a quote from Phil Mushnick about the recent New York Times story about pro wrestling: "Credit is due to The New York Times for its page 1 story last week, that revealed pro wrestling to be so pervaded with degenerate acts that it's no longer suitable for viewing by children. Pretty sharp observation, given that this story is about 15 years old. If The Times stays on top of things, it will be able to report that pro wrestling is infested with steroid abuse and other illegal drug use--a story that's about a dozen years old--and that pro wrestlers have this nasty habit of dropping dead or committing suicide at around age 30, a story that's only about 10 years old."
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- The situation with Ric Flair and WCW over Flair no-showing a live Thunder taping is still the main topic of discussion. In a meeting with the roster before Nitro last week, Bischoff buried Flair, calling him a bullshit artist and liar, and said Flair is done with WCW and that he will make an example of him and even vowed to sue him into bankruptcy for breaching his contract. As of now though, Flair has not actually been fired by WCW. Flair has made no secret that he's interested in going to WWF, especially since they have no strong opponents for Steve Austin right now and Flair could probably slide right into the title picture immediately and WWF is equally as interested in getting Flair since he continues to be one of WCW's strongest ratings draws no matter how many times they try to bury him. Any rumors that this was a worked-shoot angle were dispelled when WCW filed a very real $2 million lawsuit against Flair this week for breach of contract for no-showing Thunder, Nitro, Saturday Night taping, and a house show and claiming that Flair not showing up destroyed a planned angle (the new 4 Horsemen stable) that cost WCW significant loss of time and money. Dave thinks filing a $2 million lawsuit is pretty harsh, especially considering how many other wrestlers often no-show events but Bischoff did say he was going to set an example. As for Flair, he still claims he informed WCW well in advance that he would be missing the shows and that the time off had been approved. Others in the company have verified that Flair had indeed talked about attending his son's wrestling tournament weeks ago. On Nitro this week, Flair wasn't mentioned and the cameramen were instructed to try to avoid showing any Flair signs in the crowd. Dave says Flair and Bischoff haven't liked each other for a long time, although no one seems to really know an exact reason for the animosity.

- Many in WCW still believe it's all a work, lawsuit notwithstanding, for multiple reasons. For starters, during the meeting where Bischoff buried Flair, he actually encouraged the wrestlers to contact both Dave and Wade Keller (mentioning them by name) because he said he wanted his side of the story out there. Secondly, Arn Anderson was in the room during all this and didn't come to Flair's defense, which some were surprised by but Dave points out that Anderson has a family also and probably didn't want to risk his job by speaking up in defense of his best friend. Thirdly, just the simple fact that Bischoff would openly bury an employee over a contract situation to the extent that he did was seen as so unprofessional and vindictive that people are having a hard time believing Bischoff would do that. On the other hand, it wouldn't be the first time Bischoff has behaved like that, and Dave points out how he fired Sean Waltman for seemingly no other reason than to stick it to Hall and Nash and says Bischoff is disliked by most of the wrestlers. And finally, so many people in the business believe EVERYTHING is a work. Dave talks about people he knows in the industry who still believe the Montreal Screwjob was a work, UFC is a work, they even think the NFL and NBA are works. That's just how some people are and in these days of worked shoots and Monday night wars, it makes people even more paranoid that everything is a work.

- After having their 83-week ratings winning streak broken last week, WCW retaliated with a hot Nitro that saw 2 title changes: Hogan winning the WCW title from Savage one day after he won it, and Goldberg capturing the US title from Raven one day after he won it. Dave talks about how the business is moving faster than ever and fans are switching back and forth between the two shows and the heat is on to try and keep viewers from switching back to the competition, thus hotshot angles and title changes. Yet again, the ratings for the two shows broke records, which seems to happen every week now as the audience keeps increasing and the business keeps getting hotter. It seems like every week, a record number of people are watching pro wrestling in America and the numbers keep going up.

- Nitro also firmly established that Goldberg is a big money player. He's been receiving the biggest pops in the company for weeks but his matches haven't budged ratings until now. This was the first time Goldberg was positioned in a heavily promoted title match and boy, did he deliver. Ratings for the Goldberg match crushed the Raw ratings during the same quarter-hour. Plus Goldberg's merch is doing crazy numbers as well. Dave says that the obvious big money match now would be the undefeated Goldberg challenging Hogan for the title and it would probably do an all-time record buyrate if they do it on PPV. Because surely they'd never be foolish enough to just give that match away on free TV...

- WCW Spring Stampede is in the books and was a surprisingly much better show than it appeared on paper going in. Even more surprising was that a WCW PPV actually had a good main event for once, with Randy Savage (working with a torn ACL, no less) carrying Sting to his best PPV match in years and won the title. Ultimo Dragon and Chavo Guerrero Jr. had one of the best WCW PPV matches of the year so far which was equaled an hour later by Raven vs. DDP in a wild brawl. Dave gives both matches 4 stars. In the main event, Miss Elizabeth took a bump and got taken out and Dave says that may be it for her in the wrestling business. Elizabeth recently got re-married and, at 37, reportedly wants to start living a real life ("you know, a life apart from the boob jobs and starvation diets which are what too many women in this profession are strongly encouraged to live their lives going through to keep their figures at an age when doing such becomes going against nature"). With Savage taking off soon for surgery, that's probably it for her (nope, she'd be back. Her new marriage didn't last long).

- Dave talks about the recent merger of 2 of the PPV providers and how they have decided to move UFC PPVs to one of their secondary channels, which are only available in a fraction of the homes as the primary channel. Basically, it means significantly less people will be able to buy UFC PPVs, which were already struggling as it is. UFC is considering doing a taped PPV rather than running live because it would be more cost-effective. Lots of people in the PPV industry are saying that this is likely the final mortal blow for UFC.

- Mitsuharu Misawa, working with knee, back, neck, and finger injuries, still won the AJPW Carnival Champion tournament. Misawa is expected to drop his title to Kawada at the upcoming Tokyo Dome show and then hopefully take some time off to heal up (yeah, he finally takes about 3 months off).

- Speaking of injuries, Dave talks about how they seem to be piling up at an alarming rate and basically lists all the major stars in the biz who are dealing with serious injuries. Savage with the torn ACL, expected to get surgery and be out several months. Shane Douglas suffered a broken bone inside the roof of his mouth (ouch) and also has an elbow injury that needs surgery. He's expected to work ECW's PPV next week and then will be out for a long time (yeah missed about 4 months after this). Taz suffered an injury where a table spot went wrong and ripped all the flesh and muscle off his shinbone. He had to be rushed to the hospital to get 18 stitches and may need surgery and he'll be missing the PPV. Keiji Muto recently had surgery on both knees and is expected to be out a few more months. Ken Shamrock has an ankle injury and may miss the next WWF PPV. Sable had one of her toes broken in 3 places and may need surgery since it's such a bad break. Lodi recently suffered a broken ankle on Nitro and will need a second surgery on it. Dave lists several other guys, mostly in Japan, dealing with nagging injuries also.

- Masato Tanaka from FMW in Japan is expected to start full-time with ECW soon. It's also expected Atsushi Onita will come in later this year to set up a planned exploding ring match. If it happens, it probably won't be on PPV since they won't allow it. So expect it to take place at an outdoor arena and probably be sold on videotape later (never happened).

- Hulk Hogan appeared on Jay Leno's show a couple of weeks ago and raised a lot of eyebrows by not mentioning WCW at all, nor promoting the PPV that was only 6 days away.

- Erik Watts had another WCW tryout this week, losing to Yuji Nagata and didn't look good.

- The deal with fans attacking Raven recently started as a shoot but has turned into an angle. When it happened the first time, it was legit and the fan was arrested, but then they did it a few days later with a fake fan as an angle to try to make it look like Raven has so much heat that fans are attacking him. But the angle is being dropped because WCW realized it'd probably be a bad idea to glorify fans jumping the rail.

- Scott Hall is expected to return sometime in the next week or so. He's been out dealing with personal issues (rehab).

- Arn Anderson has written an autobiography called Arn Anderson: A Look Behind the Curtain which should be available in a few weeks "through the internet."


- A St. Paul newspaper ran a story about 72-year-old Verne Gagne and featured a large photo of him with no shirt on, wearing his old AWA title belt. Dave said he looks good for 72 but adds, "I just hope when we all get 72 and senile that the local paper doesn't shoot photos of us with our shirts off strutting around with make believe championship belts and quoting us being so bitter about the state of the industry that is setting new business records every week." Gagne talked about being unimpressed by Nitro recently selling out the local arena, saying AWA used to do that all the time. He also buried Jesse Ventura, saying no one would know who he was if not for AWA.

- On Raw, they had Dude Love beat Steve Blackman in what was basically a recreation of the Montreal Screwjob, with Earl Hebner as the ref ending the match when Blackman didn't submit. They implied that Vince will do the same thing to Austin at the PPV to get the belt off him. Dave says the Montreal match is the most famous wrestling finish in modern history and it's likely going to be copied to death for many years to come (yuuuup).

- There was some sort of backstage incident at Raw between Jerry Lawler and promoter Dennis Coraluzzo. Apparently Coraluzzo was trying to book Brian Christopher for one of his shows, but Lawler and Coraluzzo have heat for a bunch of different silly reasons so they had a little argument I guess. No real details.

- Someone writes in and asks what you have to do to get blackballed by the wrestling industry? Nailz attacked Vince McMahon but WCW reportedly wants to hire him. Jake Roberts has burned a million bridges and has known drug problems, but rumor is he's returning to WWF soon. Bryan Adams was arrested on guns and drugs charges and was brought back. The person thinks murder might be the only taboo but then he says there's still a lot we don't know about the Jimmy Snuka story, so maybe not even murder is enough to get you blackballed from wrestling.
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[+] 1 user Likes Peezy's post
Man, on a whim I'm listening to some 2001 WOL. Shit is crazy. WWF almost bought WCW early in 2001 with talent and Turner were going to guarantee Nitro and Thunder would go on but Viacom killed it. SO many twists in turns in the beginning of 2001. Fuscient, WWF, Fox, etc. Some interesting stuff on the XFL too. Also, on the WCW Greed show, a caller calls in to call Dave "the best nigga in the business" and Dave has no idea how to react and segues into a story of a Rick Steiner rib on Kwee Wee, lol.

Dave also spends an inordinate amount of time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

EDIT 2: Man, there are a lot of dudes who even up to the precipice of the last nitro think it is all a work. And Dave is saying from the beginning that an Invasion angle will not work.

EDIT 3: On the 3/20 show he is lamenting NJPW is on the ropes also. Saying they are on the same road WCW is and we might have 3 major organizations go down in 2001. Amazing how times change. Also, fuck all these 2001 wrestling fans who hate Kurt Angle. And lol @ Rick Steiner who was apparently shooting on everyone in the last 2 weeks of the company just to prove how tough he was since he knew he couldnt be hired by WWF.

Holy shit I had NO idea HBK was lobbying for a comeback as early as 2000. That they kept telling him that creative didnt have anything for him as a way to pettily get back at him for all the shit he had pulled in years past.

LMAO @ the 3/21 show. Sean O'Haire has a bright future but I don't think Shane Helms will ever get any air time. So, Dave isn't always right. Also some great shit on this episode blaming the WWF for the death of ECW and WCW. Positing that the WWF's content and shit drove advertisers away and made USA and Turner and other networks not want anything to do with wrestling leaving there nowhere for any other wrestling companies to air.

Also, in this episode he points out the idea WWF was never close to bankrupcy is a complete fabrication. However, USA did come very close to cancelling RAW in 1996. He also is arguing with fans over the phone about WCW not being a work. I guess Dave has always like engaging idiots. However there is a lot of talk in this about why the WWF doesnt ever hype the Undertaker's undefeated streak, lol.

I'm up to the post final Nitro. Man, its shitty how this all shook out. The initial plans for WCW sounded so good. Except for the part where HBK apparently pitched the Kliq to be the center of the WCW show and that would be his return. But lol @ Dave shitting on NJPW booking, how they always tease things that never pay off and they dont deliver matches people want and how the WWF isnt in the business of disappointing fans. The business of disappointing fans is the best way to describe the WWE of today. Some of these old eps have cold reads for something called e yadda. But this episode has Dave doing a cold read about the dangers of ecstacy from the drug council.
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[+] 1 user Likes Ceallach's post
In his defense, Sean O'Haire should have been a big star. Drug problems fucked him up.

And he's also got a point about the advertiser issue. I'm writing up 1999 issues now and there's a lot of shit about advertisers getting cold feet about wrestling, even though WCW is desperately trying to distance themselves and are basically G-rated. They still get lumped into the same boat as WWF. It's a constant annoyance of Bischoff's.

That shit sounds interesting though, I never thought to go back and listen to the old shows.
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- Marcus Bagwell sufered a serious neck injury on the live episode of Thunder this week after a move gone wrong. Bagwell suffered 4 crushed vertebrae in his neck after jamming his head into Rick Steiner's back on a botched bulldog, leading to Bagwell being temporarily paralyzed from the neck down. The next day, Bagwell had extensive neck and spinal surgery to fuse several vertebrae together. Following the surgery, his blood pressure dropped drastically and there was fear that he would fall into a coma, but as of press time, he's back in stable condition. The prognosis is that the doctors expect him to eventually make a full recovery due to being young and in great physical shape, although it'll probably be a year before he'll be back in the ring. Bagwell was told that the injury was only 3 centimeters away from being identical to the injury that paralyzed Christopher Reeve and that his strong neck muscles probably saved him from a worse fate.

- The live TV show was halted for nearly 30 minutes so they could get the right type of stretcher for Bagwell (normal one too unstable for a neck injury like that I guess) before they could risk moving him. Tony Schiovane basically took over the broadcast and all 3 announcers were in a tough position of trying to keep the show going while doctors worked on Bagwell in the ring. Eventually, WCW producers chose to air footage of Hogan winning the title from Savage a few days earlier on Nitro, but they had the Thunder announce team doing commentary live over the footage, and all 3 (Heenan, Schiavone and Tenay) were noticeably shaken, which emphasized just how silly and unimportant a wrestling storyline is when real life tragedy is unfolding. It was a scary situation and Dave says that Schiavone and Heenan in particular did a wonderful job of maintaining composure and keeping the show going considering the dire circumstances.

- Nothing much has changed on the legal situation with Ric Flair and WCW. They're apparently at an impasse but both sides are at least talking and are cordial. Given that Flair still has 3 years on his contract, WCW has no intention of releasing him and letting WWF have him. Lawyers from both sides have been trying to work out the issue. WCW's lawsuit against Flair is still out there but may likely get dropped if/when they work things out. Dave thinks the lawsuit might have been more of a scare tactic, just in case anyone else who wants out of their WCW contracts thinks of no-showing. Reportedly, Flair wants to restructure his WCW deal and Bischoff wants Flair to make some sort of apology and admittance of wrongdoing, which would allow him to save face after he buried Flair in front of the entire locker room and swore he'd never return. Dave then spends a paragraph shooting holes in the theory that this whole thing is a work and pointing out why that's not the case, although he says WCW will probably turn it into a storyline if/when Flair returns. Anyway, the story (the lawsuit in particular) was picked up in all the media outlets throughout the Carolinas where Flair is, of course, a god. But for whatever reason, most of the stories seem to be focusing on the fact that the lawsuit admits that wrestling is fake and that Flair is being sued for not showing up to participate in a storyline and the media seems to be gleefully relishing in the "see, wrestling is fake!" aspect of the story, which is obviously just about the oldest news ever. There have also been large "We want Flair!" chants at both WCW and WWF shows since this all started.

- Raw and Nitro both took place live at arenas about 30 minutes away from each other this week in Norfolk and Hampton, VA. Both shows were sold out well in advance. However, Nitro was tape-delayed due to the NBA playoffs and, without competition, Raw did its best rating ever, breaking the old record by more than a full ratings point. The 5.71 rating made it the single highest rated pro wrestling show in the history of cable TV. WCW is going to be at a major disadvantage for the rest of the month due to NBA playoffs which are going to wreak havoc with WCW's schedule for both Nitro and Thunder, with both shows airing at different times, or in the case of Thunder, not airing at all for the next 2 weeks.

- Oh yeah, one other thing about Raw and Nitro being in nearby cities, turned out something else notable happened: DX drove a tank to Nitro. The segments aired throughout Raw, with DX driving to the Nitro arena before the show started taping and cut a bunch of promos in front of WCW fans. In one segment, they carefully spliced in footage of the marquee at the arena which announced free tickets for a different event to make it look like they were free tickets for Nitro. And they repeatedly referenced how WCW gave away a bunch of free tickets for the show. In reality, there were only 632 free tickets for this Nitro, which is actually an unusually low number for a WCW TV taping. In response, later during the show, Tony Schiavone announced that the show had been sold out for months (Dave says it was only weeks, but regardless, it was indeed sold out) and that WWF couldn't even give free tickets away (Dave says Raw was sold out in advance too so, yanno...both sides are full of shit). Some of the segments were lame (HHH trying to get fans to say "WCW sucks") but other parts were hilarious, such as X-Pac knocking on the back door wanting to talk to Eric Bischoff, or the part where HHH yelled "Let my people go!" in reference to Hall and Nash. Dave says the whole thing seemed petty and childish, but that's where the business is now in 1998. Anyway, the next day, a "top executive" from WWF (Dave doesn't say who) called up one of WCW's execs and apologized for the whole angle (funny how WWE always leaves that out of the re-telling).

- WWF's Unforgiven PPV is in the books, drawing the biggest wrestling crowd in Greensboro, NC history (21,000+) beating the old record set by WCW Starrcade in 1986. The show was based around the idea that Vince was going to screw Austin out of the title and the main event ended with Vince doing a stretcher job after a chairshot, which was supposed to be dramatic and riveting, but fans were pouring out of the arena in droves during it and seemed disinterested in seeing if McMahon lived or died. In case you're curious, McMahon showed up on Raw the next night, not selling the injury at all.

- Other notes from the PPV: Ken Shamrock was in a 6-man tag match but was little more than a spectator due to a foot injury (torn ligaments). Sable also worked her evening gown match with Luna with a badly broken toe so it was kept short and wasn't much of a match anyway. She got a big pop when she walked out, which led J.R. to say, "You'd think Ric Flair just walked out here" which is only going to fuel more rumors of Flair-to-WWF. The crowd also chanted for Flair during the Jeff Jarrett segment. The Kane/Undertaker inferno match happened, and was a much safer version of similar matches that have happened in Japan. The match ended with Kane getting laid out with a chair outside the ring, with his arm under the ring. While Undertaker beat up Paul Bearer, the special-effects guys under the ring prepped Kane's arm for the spot where it was set on fire. And the Austin/Dude Love main event which featured Love giving an incredible performance and bumping all over the place to get the match over. The match ended with the ref unconscious and Austin simply counting the winning pinfall himself and his music played and that was it. (Turns out you can just count your own pinfalls to win matches. Not sure why more guys don't try that. This reminds me of the New Year's Revolution 2005 PPV, during the Maven vs. Shelton Benjamin match. There was a bit where Maven got outside the ring and got the microphone to cut a promo mid-match. And he started the promo by telling the referee not to count him out because he had something to say. And....it worked. He stood outside the ring foreeeever cutting a promo and the referee never started counted. Turns out you can just tell a referee not to count you out. Who knew?!)

- Wrestling got a lot of mainstream coverage this week in the media. Some of it was due to the Flair/WCW lawsuit and there was also an A&E documentary special that got some coverage. Access Hollywood did a story on Steve Austin. Entertainment Tonight is doing a piece on WCW Nitro this week. Lou Albano appeared on a show called Lie Detector, hosted by Marcia Clark (the woman who lost the OJ Simpson case), where Albano is asked about wrestling being fake, which Dave once again says is such a stupid thing for people to obsess over these days, as if everyone doesn't already know the answer. The Wall Street Journal published a story about advertising and marketing in the wrestling biz and how WCW and Eric Bischoff in particular have brilliantly managed to increase WCW's ad rates by 70% over the past 2 years. Dave will review the A&E special next week. (Here's the Lie Detector segment. This is classic Lou Albano).

- Dave looks at the first quarter (Jan. 1 through Mar. 31) numbers for all the major companies and compares them to the same time period from years past. It's interesting to see just how much the business is booming right now compared to just a few years ago. Comparing 1998 numbers to 1995 numbers is crazy. For instance, average Q1 attendance for WWF in 1995 was 3,227 per show. In 1998, they're averaging 9,143 per show. WCW went from 2,020 to 7,865 over those same 4 years. In 1995, WCW didn't sell out any of their shows during the first quarter. In 1998, they sold out over 65% of them. Same thing goes for average gates, buyrates, cable ratings, etc. Just massive increases across the board during the last 4 years for both companies. Interestingly enough, things aren't quite as rosy in Japan. Both AJPW and NJPW have had slight increases over the last few years but nothing significant. Things are still strong, but essentially stagnant. Dave does note that the Japanese economy is in a huge recession right now and that most of the smaller promotions in Japan are really struggling, but the big 2 remain stable. Although for what it's worth, Dave says there are warning signs that business might be heading towards a downswing (yeah, AJPW and NJPW are both in for some tough times in the next few years).

- AAA president Antonio Pena has filed lawsuits against Psicosis and Konnan. The Psicosis lawsuit is due to Pena claiming he owns the rights to that name. Psicosis no-showed the first court date and if he misses the next one, the judge will rule in favor of Pena by default and Psicosis will be forced to change his name both in Mexico and the U.S. As for Konnan, the lawsuit is for defamation of character based on a recent interview Konnan gave where he evidently trashed Pena (you never find out what happens with all these lawsuits. Seems like every few weeks, Pena is suing somebody and it either goes nowhere or I guess is settled out of court because I never see the results of them anywhere).

- AJPW has sold about 30,000 tickets for its first ever Tokyo Dome show happening this week, which is enough to be profitable. But to be considered a public success, they probably need to sell around 50,000. The level of interest in this show is nowhere near NJPW's regular Tokyo Dome shows.

- Dave mentions that the NWO gimmick is pretty much dead in Japan, as it's been almost completely dropped aside from Tenzan still wearing an NWO shirt sometimes but it's never mentioned anymore.

- In Power Pro Wrestling in Memphis, Austin Idol was scheduled for 2 shows but he ended up no-showing them. It's ironic because earlier in the week on the TV show, they did an angle where Jerry Lawler talked about how Austin Idol shouldn't even be booked in Power Pro because he always no-shows events and burns the promoter. And then, sure enough, Idol legitimately no-showed the very next shows.

- Shane Douglas was hospitalized this week after ignoring doctor's orders. It was mentioned last week that he had a broken bone in the roof of his mouth. He was going to get surgery but ended up putting it off. But the doctors told him not to fly. Douglas disregarded the advice and took a flight from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, figured it was a short flight and he'd be fine. He was wrong. Midway through the flight, "his sinuses exploded" and he was bleeding all over the place and had to be rushed to the hospital when they landed. He still appeared at the next day's ECW show but didn't wrestle and reportedly looked like a walking corpse backstage. The plan is for him to drive from Philly to Marietta, GA for the PPV (since he can't fly) and do whatever he can. He's scheduled to main event the show and defend the ECW title against Al Snow but it's unknown if he'll be able to wrestle now. He's also still dealing with a serious elbow injury that needs surgery as well.

- Kevin Nash and Randy Savage formed a new group called the Wolfpac on Nitro this week and introduced Konnan as the 3rd member. Scott Hall is expected to return next week and will likely end up in the group also.

- Randy Savage has decided against getting the knee surgery that he needs. WCW's doctor has told him that he is risking the possibility of walking with a limp for the rest of his life if he doesn't get it fixed (he eventually does).

- WCW (actually, Hogan) had the idea that Sting should turn heel so that Sting can team with Hogan in matches against Hall and Nash. But Sting refused. He doesn't want to be heel because it will kill his merch sales, although Dave says Goldberg's merch becoming such a huge hit has basically killed Sting's merch sales anyway.

- Mark Madden may or may not be fired from WCW. He was doing live internet play-by-play of Nitro and also did some commentary for the DirecTV specials that air Nitro without commercials. Anyway, apparently there were some missed cues during the DirecTV broadcast that led to Madden slamming down his headset and walking off during the show. WCW removed him from doing those broadcasts at that point but told him he could still do the WCW hotline messages. But then he apparently went on the hotline and talked about the Ric Flair situation so he was told they were taking the hotline away from him too, which doesn't really leave him with much in the way of job duties anymore.

- Adam Copeland worked a dark match before Raw as a heel, beating Darren Drosdov. Jackyl from the Truth Commission was Copeland's manager for the match. The next night for a TV taping, Copeland worked as a geeky babyface, beating jobber Matt Hardy.

- In the letters, someone asks Dave how many hours of wrestling he watches per week and how does he stay excited about it. Dave responds, saying, "I'd say realistically I watch 15-20 hours of pro wrestling every week. When it's bad wrestling, I don't get that excited about it, but the tact I take is that you try and learn something from everything. For me, when I stop learning something new when I watch current wrestling, it's means the Observer is going to quickly become outdated which is one of my prime motivating factors as I've seen so many people reach a point when they think they've learned everything about this business and then stop learning. As quickly as this business changes and evolves due to competition, they may make great historians, but they don't have a hell of a lot relevant to offer about the most important part of history, the present and the future."

- Bert Prentice writes in, complaining that Dave doesn't give his fledgling little bullshit indie promotion Music City Wrestling more coverage in the Observer. Someone else writes in and tells Dave to lay off the sarcasm about wrestlers and their religious beliefs. Apparently Dave said something recently about Nikita Koloff finding Jesus that was deemed sarcastic and offended this guy.
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[+] 1 user Likes Peezy's post
I don't recommend listening to too many, lol. I was just listening to these on a whim because 2001 is such a crazy year. I listened up to the post WM X7 show. Man, Dave and Bryan loved that show, lol.

But yeah, you're talking 6 hours of radio a week, with a lot of cool as it happens insight. But also a lot of speculation and a lot of dumb callers and Dave arguing with people. Though there are some cool moments of news breaking as they are on the air.
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(12-18-2017, 10:04 AM)Peezy Wrote: 5-4-1998

Anyway, the next day, a "top executive" from WWF (Dave doesn't say who) called up one of WCW's execs and apologized for the whole angle (funny how WWE always leaves that out of the re-telling).

i mean honestly why would the WWE ever mention this?
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Holy shit, I take back what I said. It is totally worth listening to old Wols. I am listening to August 1st, 2000. Hoo boy. Dave really didn't like the Viagra on a pole match.

I might just go back to 99 and listen to Dave and Bryan eviscerate Nitro and thunder every week.
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Dude he tears WCW apart in the 99 newsletters that I'm writing up
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- AJPW's first ever Tokyo Dome drew a reported 53,000+ and was the biggest show in AJPW's history and is being considered a major success. The main event saw Toshiaki Kawada win the triple crown title from Mitsuharu Misawa in what many called a match of the year candidate, which is amazing considering the physical condition Misawa was in going into the match (2 injured knees, bad back, bad neck, broken finger, etc). Furthermore, Misawa suffered a legit concussion during the match and later didn't remember the finish. It was the first time Kawada had ever beaten Misawa. After the match, Giant Baba announced Misawa would be taking a couple of much-needed months off to heal up. Other notes from the show: Stan Hansen was the most popular person there. He teamed with Vader, the only WWF star on the show, against Kobashi and Johnny Ace in a great match. It was the first time Vader and Hansen had ever teamed up and also the first time Vader and Kobashi faced off, which the crowd was really into.

- ECW's Wrestlepalooza PPV also took place this week and from a wrestling standpoint was one of the worst PPVs in years. It's been over a year now and ECW has yet to ever produce a PPV as good as their first one. On the plus side, they sold a record amount of merch (averaging almost $19 per person). Shane Douglas, much like Misawa or Shawn Michaels at WM14, had no business being in the ring with all of his injuries but he still gutted out the match. Unfortunately for Shane, it was nowhere in the league of a Misawa or Michaels match. But Shane was in terrible shape, he couldn't fly to the show so he had to be driven to Georgia and was hospitalized again 2 nights before the PPV due to his sinus and pallet injuries. But he retained the world title although word is he may not wrestle again until the November PPV because he's getting elbow surgery. But they plan to keep the belt on him during that time regardless and build the show around RVD's TV title. Speaking of RVD, he's a great athlete but going 30 minutes with Sabu totally exposed him and the match had no heat. It had been built up as the match that would either make or break the show and it just didn't deliver. Also, the venue looked bush-league and Joey Styles desperately needs help on commentary. He cuts Joey some slack because it's hard to sell excitement when the show sucks, but still, carrying a 3 hour show by himself isn't working.

- Other notes from Wrestlepalooza: Paul Heyman spent $3,000 on styrofoam heads to pass out to the crowd for Al Snow's entrance. Taz's planned match was cancelled due to his leg injury so they had the FBI vs. Blue Meanie/Super Nova added to replace it. Justin Credible had the best match on the show for the 2nd PPV in a row and is the only one who actually wrestled at a top-tier level but he's not over with the crowd at the same level. At one point there was a big "Free Ric Flair!" chant. Junkyard Dog made a surprise appearance looking awful but got a huge pop (I think that ends up being his last wrestling appearance ever, since he dies less than a month later). Francine looked anorexic and Dave says she looked like Karen Carpenter with implants. New Jack got knocked absolutely loopy during the Bam Bam match, causing the match to fall apart and he didn't recover until well after the match backstage. Bam Bam basically had to carry an unconscious New Jack through the match. After the show, Paul Heyman got on the mic and ran down WCW and said that Atlanta is now ECW country.

- A&E aired their 2-hour pro wrestling documentary and Dave watched it and gives a looooong review. Dave basically says to imagine an NBA documentary that shows lots of cool highlights, but where Wilt Chamberlin or Magic Johnson are never mentioned, or if it claimed Michael Jordan invented the slam dunk. That was this. Basically, the documentary was inaccurate as hell and Dave spends paragraph after paragraph poking holes in everything they got wrong. It got a lot of positive reviews because of the SHOCKING! revelation that they admitted wrestling was fake and had lots of out-of-kayfabe interviews and thus, the critical reception was that this was an accurate inside look at the business, when it wasn't even close. Bruno Sammartino was never mentioned. Ric Flair's role in history was totally underplayed. The steroid scandals weren't addressed. The Monday night wars weren't mentioned. It basically claimed that modern pro wrestling was invented on the day Hulk Hogan bodyslammed the 9,000 pound Andre The Giant in front of eleventy billion people. Totally ignored the history of the NWA. So on and so forth. Dave goes way in depth filling in the gaps and correcting things the documentary got wrong about the early days of wrestling (pre-1950s). Once it got to the modern era, it featured interviews with all the big names like McMahon, Hogan, etc. And Dave gleefully spends multiple paragraphs picking apart the bullshit and lies they all spewed. All in all, Dave didn't really seem to be a fan of this. To a mainstream audience, it could definitely seem like a real and accurate history of wrestling but Dave's been a student of the game for decades and he pretty much found inaccuracies, omissions, or lies throughout every minute of this (I dunno, I think maybe he's being too hard on it. I enjoyed it. But it's a lot like the WWE documentaries they put out now. It's not kayfabe, but you're still hearing the version of the story they want you to hear and not the actual real truth. Anyway, I could only find it broken down into 7 videos. Here's Part 1 and it should automatically play the next part).

- The Brian Pillman memorial show, featuring representatives from WWF, WCW, and ECW took place this week. The show drew a sellout of 1,002 fans to the middle school gym where it was held (the same school Pillman went to). Pillman's wife, only days away from giving birth to Pillman's child that he never knew about was also there (when he died, she hadn't yet told him that she was pregnant). Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho was the main event and Benoit was accompanied by Woman, making her first appearance since being let go by WCW and she was said to look great. They also had an auction, with a lot of autographed wrestling memorabilia being auctioned off. Steve Austin and Sunny basically hosted the show and cut promos but Dave doesn't really say anything else about it.

- Paul Roma was charged with 3rd degree assault for allegedly punching a 15-year-old high school freshman who apparently argued with him that wrestling was fake.

- Dave himself got some negative publicity in a Dallas newspaper article about wrestling being bad for the youth. Among other things, the author accused Dave of justifying the way wrestling has gotten more adult-oriented by misquoting something Dave said in a New York Times interview. Dave, of course, points out that the guy is attributing a quote to him that he never said (Dave Meltzer misquoted?! Perish the thought!). As for whether wrestling sets a good example for kids, Dave says that it doesn't. But it didn't 10 years ago either, so it's not a new thing.

- Bas Rutten spent 2 days in jail in Sweden last week. He was apparently at a night club and something happened and the bouncers wanted him to leave. He didn't want to. So they tried to make him. It went poorly for the bouncers.

- Trenton, NJ politician Pat Daddio made an appearance at an ECW show in Trenton, as the manager of the FBI. Daddio is currently running for mayor of Trenton and worked as a total heel. When interviewed after the show, Daddio said, "I thought it was all in jest and fun, but those people were acting like it was serious." (in case you're curious, I googled: he did not win the election and died in 2010 at age 75).

- Apparently there was some sort of backstage incident at the ECW Wrestlepalooza PPV between New Jack (of course) and Junkyard Dog but Dave doesn't know anything more than that (we find out more next issue).

- Due to the lack of Ric Flair and because of DDP and Raven also missing a recent house show, literally 200+ fans asked for refunds. To pacify them, WCW decided to book a TV title change between Booker T and Chris Benoit. It got a huge pop so....they decided to do it at every house show on the tour. During the following week, the TV title changed hands 5 times between those two guys at house shows. But it was never acknowledged on TV and apparently isn't being counted (according to the WCW TV title Wikipedia page, those title changes are listed and Booker T is recognized as a 6-time, 6-time, 6-time, 6....ah you get it. Anyway, Booker T holds the record for most WCW TV title reigns because of this but it was apparently never mentioned on TV).

- An upcoming Nitro in the Nassau Coliseum in New York sold out in 20 minutes, which Dave says is the fastest sellout for a major arena in the history of pro wrestling in New York. Not even WWF has ever sold out MSG that fast in the decades they've been running shows there.

- Nothing new on the Flair/WCW front. The 2 sides are at an impasse, with both Flair and Bischoff feeling they're in the right and refusing to back down. Dave once again insists that this is not an angle, contrary to what some people still believe. Dave mentions that lawyers can be disbarred for filing fake lawsuits and says that while people in wrestling have gone to extreme lengths to get angles over before, no one has ever filed a legitimate lawsuit to get an angle over, and even if Bischoff wanted to be the first, Turner execs would never allow their corporate lawyers to risk their careers for an angle.

- Marcus Bagwell was able to go home after his neck surgery but was rushed back to the ER again over the weekend after his blood pressure spiked and he nearly went into cardiac arrest. He was also having breathing issues and internal bleeding. But he's stable again now.

- After Sting refused to turn heel in order to be Hogan's tag team partner against the Wolfpac, Hogan has been pushing for Scott Hall or even Lex Luger to turn. Dave doubts Hall will go along with it either, since he doesn't want to work against Nash.

- Rick Steiner has a torn rotator cuff and will be out for several months. They did an angle on Nitro where Scott Steiner attacked him and injured his shoulder to write him off.

- Davey Boy Smith appears to be done with WCW. On Nitro a couple of weeks ago, he was asked to put over Scott Norton clean and refused. A week later, he simply no-showed Nitro and that's probably it for him. Dave says it's hard to know what's next for Smith. He's 35, is really banged up, and was basically a prelim guy in WCW. He didn't leave WWF on the best of terms (Screwjob aftermath). Dave says ECW is interested but he wouldn't fit in there. AJPW would probably want him just because of his look, but it's doubtful his body could handle the AJPW style (nah, he comes back to WCW in a month. But he'd be gone for good before the end of the year).

- WCW Contract News: Goldberg has signed a new 4-year deal. Chris Jericho's contract runs out in summer of 1999. Same for Rey Mysterio Jr., who WWF was reportedly interested in because it was thought his contract would expire this year. But WCW apparently has the option to roll it over for another year, so Mysterio isn't going anywhere for awhile.

- Eric Bischoff spent 3 days this week giving depositions in the ongoing WWF lawsuit against WCW, all of which goes back to WWF claiming that WCW tried to deceive the public into thinking Hall and Nash were still WWF wrestlers when they joined WCW, among other things. A lot of people feel like the point of the lawsuit and deposition is simply for WWF to dig up dirt on Eric Bischoff which they can use to get him fired (similar to how Turner fired Bill Watts a few years ago when racist quotes from an old interview surfaced). The idea being that if Bischoff got fired, whoever succeeded him wouldn't be as aggressive or successful against WWF.

- Speaking of WWF/WCW lawsuits, the recent firing of Mark Madden in WCW raised some eyebrows. He got canned after incidents where he walked off the set during some commentary thing he was doing and then he went on the WCW hotline and criticized the company for the way they handled the Sean Waltman firing and Ric Flair lawsuit. A lot of people in WCW were surprised that Madden was fired, since he's a key person in the WWF/WCW lawsuit because a lot of WWF's claims stem from things Madden said on the hotline. So you'd think WCW would want to keep Madden employed and on their good side. ECW is interested in bringing Madden in also. Some in WCW are pushing to bring him back and keep him happy, at least until the lawsuit blows over.

- People Magazine was running an online vote for Most Beautiful People in the World. Some fans/trolls decided to push for Ric Flair and as of press time, he's #12 on the list.

- Kimberly Page has nude photos in the newest Playboy: Wet & Wild issue (google is your friend here).

- The vignette they aired on Raw showing a wrestler hanging out in the subway station was Adam Copeland. Apparently he will be called The Edge when he debuts on TV in a few weeks and he's "apparently doing some sort of Raven gimmick." Here's all the Edge pre-debut vignettes in one video:

- With the new storyline twist that Paul Bearer is Kane's father, there's been talk of bringing in Jerry Springer to reveal the results of a paternity test. But they have also discussed holding off on bringing in Springer until Summerslam. WWF and Springer are pretty much targeting the same audience these days so a business relationship makes sense. Speaking of Summerslam, Dave suspects the main event will be Austin vs. McMahon (nope).

- Porn star Jenna Jameson (last seen in ECW) was in the latest Val Venis vignette, acting like she was going down on him behind some bushes.

- WCW has been trying to enforce a 120-day no-compete clause on Steven Regal's contract to keep him from going to WWF. In response, WWF filed court documents intending to take legal action to free Regal up. Rather than defending it, WCW decided it wasn't worth the hassle and simply folded and allowed Regal out of his deal, so he's free to sign with WWF at any time now. WWF doesn't plan to debut him until August but they wanted to start airing vignettes on TV as soon as possible.

- Dan Severn is still the NWA champion but is, of course, now signed to WWF. He has been told not to wear the NWA belt on WWF TV anymore.

- Vince Russo will be dropping his magazine duties and spend more time writing the TV shows. "If he's in any way responsible for the Raw product of late, then he's doing one hell of a job." Oh man, Dave-haters and Russo-apologists on Twitter are going to LOVE that one.

- Shawn Michaels' back issues are apparently worse than thought. Word is Michaels is in severe pain when both sitting and standing and is having trouble sleeping. He had an injection in his back this week to hopefully relieve the pain. If that doesn't help improve it, he will need back surgery. The injury apparently occurred during his casket match with Undertaker at Royal Rumble.

- Earl Hebner was backstage at the latest WWF show. He's lost a lot of weight and is still having severe headaches from his aneurysm the night before Wrestlemania but they're hopeful he'll be back to refereeing in a month or so (so I guess that thing a couple of issues ago where they did a fake Screwjob angle wasn't Earl after all).

- Klub Kamikaze, the group of Michinoku Pro wrestlers that have been on TV the last few weeks, will have their name changed to Kaientai. Their manager will have his name changed to Yamaguchi-San and will do a Sonny Onoo-type gimmick. Choppy choppy pee pee!

- Apparently several WWF wrestlers are having their contracts changed and getting substantial raises (in some cases double what they were making) because WWF business is doing so good right now. Dave talks about how Austin is taking WWF by storm and says he is selling more merch right now than anyone in the history of wrestling, including Hogan. Dave doesn't know what Austin is making, but says if he isn't pulling in at least $5-10 million this year, then he's underpaid.

- The Unforgiven PPV reportedly did around a 1.03 buyrate which is waaaay higher than anyone expected and would make it one of the highest grossing shows in WWF history, which is crazy enough anyway, but considering it was basically a throwaway "B-show" makes that number even more insane.
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- Raw beat Nitro in the ratings again this week and in fact, dominated them through the whole show, winning every quarter-hour segment, but the real story is how much the rivalry has heated up. WWF drew first blood hours before the show, when they flew DX to Atlanta. DX went to WCW headquarters and filmed footage at the building. WCW executive VP Nick Lambros called 911 to try and report them for trespassing. Police came and detained them but they weren't arrested. Later, they went to CNN, asking to visit Ted Turner.

- Bischoff responded on Nitro, coming out on a motorcycle and challenging Vince McMahon. He first talked about how McMahon sent his puppets to look for him in Atlanta when they know he's not there and specifically went off on X-Pac. He then challenged McMahon to show up to Slamboree and meet him in the ring. He was careful to make sure and say that fans shouldn't buy the PPV because Vince wouldn't show up in order to avoid false advertising accusations. The fans, realizing this was a shoot and not a storyline, cheered the heel Bischoff. Dave thinks it was a brilliant response because, obviously, Vince isn't going to show up and it will look like he backed down from the challenge. Publicly, Vince has ignored the challenge, but WWF as a whole didn't. On Raw, Jim Ross talked shit about WCW for the whole show. X-Pac and Jim Cornette both got in a few digs also. Dave then takes a moment to ponder who might actually win if Vince and Bischoff really did fight. In short, Vince is huge and muscular, but he got laid out by one punch from Bret Hart. And Bischoff is younger and quicker than Vince and has extensive martial arts training (it's worth remembering the story last year where Bischoff was in a bar and had a bet with Japanese referee Tiger Hattori that he couldn't take him down. Hattori was a super respected amateur wrestler and everyone thought it was a no brainer, so they moved a bunch of tables and Bischoff and Hattori went at it....and Bischoff won. Point being, the guy is no slouch). Among everyone who has been talking about it backstage in both companies, the general consensus is that Bischoff would probably humiliate Vince in a real fight, but of course, nobody is going to say that to Vince's face.

- It's number crunching time again, as Dave decides to figure out who actually put butts in seats and who has been a real draw as WWF champion. He doesn't do WCW, since their world title has rarely been defended at house shows over the years (since Hogan doesn't work them and he's been champion most of the time). This is basically from 1992 through now. TL;DR - Austin is the biggest draw of the last 6+ years. Flair's title run in 1992 was strong. Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart are basically fairly even and were both decent draws. Randy Savage was a bad draw on paper, but his title run came in the midst of all the crazy scandals starting to hurt the company and Dave doesn't think Savage is necessarily to blame. Ditto for Hogan who was a pretty bad draw in 1993, but that says more about the state of the company at the time rather than him. The only one who was just a flat out bad draw was Diesel who somehow brought an already stagnant business down even lower but was actually a good TV ratings draw. Yokozuna did okay during his time but not great. Sid was actually a better draw than Shawn Michaels at certain points. So on and so forth. But point being, Austin is by far the biggest drawing WWF star of this decade. There's a bunch more interesting stuff in this so if you want to argue any points of it, at least go read the full story first because I'm leaving out a ton of details and context.

- Due to recently losing their TV deal, Promo Azteca in Mexico is struggling and sinking fast. I must have missed the story on them losing their TV. Anyway, there's been talk of allowing the Azteca guys to work shows with AAA or EMLL if necessary (this company eventually just quietly fades away in the next few months. I don't recall ever seeing any "they're out of business" story. We just gradually stop hearing news about them until there's nothing).

- The recent AJPW Tokyo Dome show had a legit 58,000+ in the crowd and did about a $4 million gate. Needless to say, it was a huge success and AJPW will likely try to run another Dome show next year.

- One of the big sports newspapers in Japan announced that Tatsumi Fujinami will be retiring soon. Fujinami is the current IWGP champion and is scheduled to defend it against Shinya Hashimoto next month, which is rumored to be his final match (not even close. He continued to work pretty much full-time up until 2002. Then took about a year off, came back, and still wrestles to this day).

- Antonio Inoki is reportedly talking about running for the Japanese senate again. He lost his re-election campaign in 1995 and hasn't been involved in politics since. Recently, Inoki moved to Los Angeles and got a condo there, saying he wanted to play golf and get away from living in Japan where he gets mobbed by fans every time he steps out of his house. But he still plans to return to Japan every couple of weeks. And if he's serious about resuming his political career, he'll have to move back. He's also talked about getting Muhammad Ali and Arnold Schwarzeneggar to campaign for him.

- Big Japan Pro Wrestling had a show recently and I'll just copy and paste the next part: "The main event included a bed of nails (which Shadow Winger got power bombed onto and Mitsuhiro Matsunaga also took a bump onto), a zillion thumb tacks, a scorpion, a barbed wire baseball bat, a cactus tree in a corner and a scaffold with a trampoline made of barbed wire under the scaffold which Shadow WX took a bump onto and Matsunaga did a flip plancha off the scaffold onto WX as he was caught in the bared wire net. After the match in the dressing room Matsunaga attacked one of the officials with a baseball bat with nails." (This match is even crazier than that. Enjoy).

- Sid Vicious and Ahmed Johnson were both booked for shows last week for Dennis Coraluzzo but both men backed out. Sid called a few days before, telling Coraluzzo he had reinjured his back and couldn't work. As for Ahmed, his story "is weird even by wrestling standards." Ahmed had asked to be paid up front because he didn't trust Coraluzzo, so he got $1000 up front. But when Coraluzzo sent someone to pick up Ahmed at the hotel, Ahmed refused to get in the car, apparently because of something he didn't like about the car (it was a Nissan Altima. Hey, fuck off Ahmed, I have an Altima) and said he'd drive himself. Then he just never showed up. Coraluzzo cut a promo at the show saying Ahmed was in town and at his hotel but refused his ride to the show. So then Coraluzzo gave the phone number and room number where Ahmed was staying and encouraged fans to harass him about no-showing. So Ahmed ended up getting calls from fans all night long in his hotel. Ahmed was still booked for a few more shows that weekend and then no-showed those as well.

- Phil Mushnick got on his soapbox again and criticized A&E for their wrestling documentary, saying all they did was praise WWF and WCW and didn't talk about the steroid problem and epidemic of wrestlers dying young.

- Dave reviews a recent Power Pro Wrestling show from Memphis. Jacqueline from WCW returned under the name Jackie but got almost no response. Jerry Lawler's girlfriend Stacy Carter is the new hot woman in the company, basically their version of Sunny or Sable. Jimmy Valiant, at age 57, also showed up to work. Dave says there are corpses who look more alive than Valiant, and some of them are better wrestlers too.

- Ken Shamrock will appear in the corner of Pete Williams at the next UFC show. Shamrock did an interview with UFC this week talking about his WWF career, admitting that it was scripted but saying his body takes more of a beating now than it ever did in UFC. He also talked about his current injury, saying it happened when his tag partner Owen Hart "went against the script" and attacked him. So, kayfabe is still partially alive I guess.

- An update to the New Jack/Junkyard Dog story from the recent ECW PPV. Apparently there was an argument between them backstage, over New Jack claiming JYD still owed him money from something several years ago and it eventually turned into a fight. Punches were exchanged and allegedly New Jack got the better of it, although JYD didn't back down. They were quickly broken up. Later in the show, JYD had a bandage on when he went out to the ring for a legends presentation thing they did.

- Shane Douglas reportedly doesn't remember most of his match from the PPV. He's still scheduled for elbow surgery next month and is in rough shape all around. He was even filming a promo recently and his nose started bleeding while he was talking due to the sinus injury.

- The story with Al Snow is that he's still under WWF contract. The agreement all along was for Snow to go to ECW, work out a new gimmick and if he got over, WWF would bring him back with his new gimmick, so he may be returning to WWF in about 6 weeks. He already made an appearance on Raw this week and was greeted with ECW chants. They also had sort of the same deal with several other wrestlers. Furnas and LaFon are still contracted to WWF but they haven't gotten over in ECW and it's expected that WWF will probably just let Heyman keep them. Brakkus still sucks and WWF has pretty much given up on him and Heyman isn't interested either. Finally, Darren Drozdov has been working in ECW but is expected to be brought back to WWF soon and will be made the third member of the LOD 2000 team.

- ECW drew over 3,200+ paid to a show in Buffalo, which was their largest non-PPV crowd ever.

- In People Magazine's online voting for the 50 most beautiful people in the world, wrestling fans mobilized and pushed Ric Flair up to 2nd place with over 17,000 votes. He still trailed waaaaaay behind #1 though: Hank the Drunken Drawf from the Howard Stern show. Gotta love internet trolls. Meanwhile, 3rd place went to Leonardo DiCaprio. Dave thinks poor Leo and his $20 million per movie should maybe try getting sued by Bischoff and buried by Hogan and maybe he'll have a shot at 2nd place next year. Not to be outdone, Time Magazine opened up online voting for Man of the Century and Ric Flair flew up the charts again, ahead of every man who's ever lived in this century, and ahead of Jesus Christ, who for some reason got a lot of votes despite being from a much less recent century. Flair is currently in 11th place. Dave gleefully jokes about how Gandhi, Einstein, Churchill, Pope John Paul II and others are now playing catch up to the Nature Boy. Anyway, speaking of Flair, since he's had nothing to do other than sit at home and train, he's reportedly gotten into great shape recently.

- Marcus Bagwell is finally out of the hospital after all his recent complications and now the road to recovery begins.

- With WWF suddenly winning the ratings battles, WCW is back to the negotiating table with Ultimate Warrior. Turns out Hogan was the one to make the suggestion to bring him in immediately, but Bischoff overruled it because Nitro is still getting bounced around to different time slots because of the NBA playoffs. They want to wait until Nitro is back on a regular Monday night routine before bringing in Warrior, but it's apparently more of a "when" rather than an "if" now.

- Dave offhandedly mentions that Juventud Guerrera is simply awesome and has been getting over big time lately just on sheer in-ring greatness, "which means that he's in line to get buried even more."

- Dave reviews a WCW/MTV special that aired last week and said it set a new standard for bad. The main problem is that it was an outdoor show and it was pouring rain. There were originally supposed to be 8 matches, but they ended up only having 1 due to the rain and aired a bunch of angles and interviews instead.

- Rey Mysterio Jr. (who has added about 15 pounds of suspicious muscle) signed a new 1-year contract with WCW.

- Lots of guys in WCW have been pushing storyline ideas for them to be the first one to beat Goldberg. Speaking of, Goldberg's contract is reportedly for 4 years. $400,000 the first year, $600,000 the next 2 years, and $800,000 the final year.

- WCW referee Mark Curtis (Brian Hildebrand) got married last week. He's had a hell of a year, after beating cancer and making a comeback to refereeing and now getting married.

- It was reported recently that Ricky Steamboat was talking about suing WCW over the use of the name Ultimo Dragon, since Steamboat apparently has "Dragon" trademarked for wrestling use or something. It was thought that Ultimo Dragon would likely change his name, but now WCW says they're going to fight any lawsuit that Steamboat files so Ultimo Dragon is still Ultimo Dragon for the time being.

- At 2 recent house shows, WCW announced that Goldberg wouldn't be there due to a family emergency. In reality, WCW had pulled him from the shows to send him to Philadelphia to help push ticket sales for an upcoming show there. Dave says pulling a heavily advertised star from one show just so he can go promote a different show is low even by wrestling's usual false advertising standards. Refunds weren't offered at either show and the crowds were furious, chanting "Refund!" throughout both shows. Scott Hall ended up filling in at the shows, even though he wasn't supposed to be there because WCW wanted to send him home due to "personal problems." But after seeing how pissed crowds were about the lack of Goldberg, they kept Hall on the road for a few more days.

- Vader vs. Kane in a mask vs. mask match is scheduled for the Over The Edge PPV (which is stupid because it's not like Vader's mask really hides his face anyway). The obvious result would be Kane winning, but Dave has been told that Kane's new action figure scheduled to be released soon doesn't have a mask, so maybe not? (Nah, Kane wins.)

- Notes from Raw: they talked about Steve Austin voicing his own character on MTV's Celebrity Death Match show, and used the opportunity to bash WCW's recent MTV show. They aired a skit with Taka Michinoku not knowing how to drive and choking on a cigar and Dave says, "The guy is 24 years old and they portray him like he's a semi-retarded child because he's a foreigner." Goldust came out as Dustin Rhodes and burned his Goldust costume, blaming McMahon for the character and apparently turning babyface, but it got no reaction except for one loud fan in the crowd repeatedly screaming, "He's still a faggot!"

- They're teasing a new valet for Marc Mero to come in and feud with Sable. Dave thinks it will be Madusa. Pretty sure that bridge is burned at this point.

- Mark Henry and D-Lo Brown were detained at the Canadian border trying to get into the country for a recent WWF show in Ontario. Because they were detained for so long, when they finally got in, they figured it was too late to make it to the arena on time, so they just skipped out on the show and went to the hotel for the night. Both men were significantly fined for that poor decision.

- WWF is doing another training camp this week being taught by Dory Funk. Among the names expected to be there are: Solofa Fatu (Rikishi), Mick Tierney, John Tenta (Earthquake), Paul Silva (Giant Silva), Erin O'Grady (Crash Holly), Vic Grimes, Shawn Stasiak, Matt Bloom ("who is going to be brought in as the huge son of George Steele"), Andrew Martin (Test), George Phillips, Emory Hale, David Heath (Gangrel), Darren Drozdov and Dan Severn.

- Steve Austin appeared on TSN's Off The Record show and was reportedly the most requested guest ever in the history of the show and the episode was one of the highest rated ever. They asked Austin about Bischoff's comments saying Austin was a big fish in a small pond and would only be a midcarder at best in WCW. Austin said he doesn't believe Bischoff is actually that stupid and doesn't think Bischoff really believes that. Dave points out that Austin's merch sales are more than double anyone else in the business (Goldberg is a distant #2). He said Bischoff didn't have the guts to fire him in person and trashed them for splitting up his tag team with Pillman. Stumbled through defending Vince on the Screwjob. Said he had no problem with Goldberg and said imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Said Pillman was the best friend he ever had in wrestling and seemed sad talking about it, and much more.

- Brian Pillman's wife Melanie gave birth to a daughter named Skylar last week. Brian didn't know Melanie was pregnant at the time of his death because she hadn't told him yet. She was waiting for him to come home to tell him in person and he never did (worth noting that more recently, one of Pillman's other kids has claimed that the baby wasn't Brian's).

- Someone writes in asking about seeing Dave Meltzer's name in the credits of the A&E documentary. Dave responds and says he was approached by A&E, but all he did was suggest to them that they should contact Lou Thesz and Verne Gagne because they were looking for older wrestlers to interview. Beyond that, he had no involvement and says they didn't seem too concerned about accuracy.
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(12-22-2017, 11:17 AM)Peezy Wrote: 5-18-1998
- Vader vs. Kane in a mask vs. mask match is scheduled for the Over The Edge PPV (which is stupid because it's not like Vader's mask really hides his face anyway). The obvious result would be Kane winning, but Dave has been told that Kane's new action figure scheduled to be released soon doesn't have a mask, so maybe not? (Nah, Kane wins.)

This is the figure Dave spoke of. I saw it at KB Toys one time but didn't have money on me. I really wanted it (although I already knew what the unmasked figure looked like thanks to a toy magazine from a few months prior).
[Image: Ripped_Ruthless_02_-_Kane_2048x2048.jpg?v=1418615709]

[Image: 2irnng2.jpg]

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And a few years later, WWF/Jakks would release a simular figure in a line where Wrestlers Really Sweat!
[Image: Kane%20Unmasked!.jpg]
[Image: 150723-EJ-aerial-madison-square-garden-1519-Edit.jpg]
Ha wow, I've never seen that before. Interesting.
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- The back-and-forth between Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff reached a fever pitch this week, with Bischoff especially acting completely out of control. After Bischoff challenged McMahon to a fight last week on Nitro, he spent the next week constantly taunting McMahon, who never responded on TV personally. But later in the week, McMahon responded on the WWF website and WWF lawyer Jerry McDevitt sent a threatening letter to Bischoff. WWF also complained to the cable companies promoting Slamboree, saying that Bischoff was attempting to promote the idea that Vince McMahon would be appearing on their PPV. As for Bischoff, he responded to all this with more crazy antics. On Thunder, he read the letter from Jerry McDevitt on air, and then showed a training video of him preparing for his fight with McMahon. At the Slamboree PPV, they even had Michael Buffer announce Bischoff vs. McMahon but of course, when McMahon didn't show up, Bischoff "won" by count out and the next night on Nitro, he continued taunting McMahon. Part of WWF's complaint is that they promoters say "So and so won't be there," the fans are conditioned to believe that the person will show up as a surprise. So even though Bischoff keeps saying Vince won't show up, WWF says that in itself leads fans to believe that he will.

- WWF's response has been varied. On the WWF Hotline, Jim Ross took things even further in the gutter by questioning how the Nitro Girls got their jobs, in particular singling out Whisper and hinting that he knows she got the job by sleeping with some Turner network executive (I'm sure Shawn would love to hear that one). On the WWF website, Vince McMahon responded by saying, "I consider Eric Bischoff's challenge a cheap and desperate tactic to increase WCW PPV buys. I will not do anything to help WCW increase their PPV buys. Therefore, I will not appear at Turner's next PPV as invited. However, if Mr. Bischoff is hell bent on fighting me, then such a fight can be arranged at any time, in any parking lot in the country, void of television cameras, photographers and public announcement." Man, how middle schoolish is this shit?

- In other interesting news, Eric Bischoff's personal secretary Janie Engle recently quit and will be taking a job with WWF. It's especially noteworthy because she's basically been Bischoff's right hand and has worked in the WCW offices for years and she knows all the good and bad dirt in WCW. She also has extensive knowledge of the contracts of WCW wrestlers. Dave says that unless something major changes in the next year, "the heart and soul" of WCW, as a group, are all planning to jump to WWF when their contracts expire in 1999 (aka, all the midcarders who are frustrated at not being able to break the glass ceiling).

- Dave gives a forever long recap of UFC 17, first noting that Jeff Blatnick was recently named new UFC commissioner and talking about that. Again, I'm not a big MMA guy but Google tells me Blatnick basically saved the sport during these dark ages by getting it regulated by athletic commissions and also is credited with popularizing the name "MMA" instead of "no holds barred" fighting which it was still called back then by most people. Dave also covers the signing of Bas Rutten, a rules controversy that allowed Tank Abbott to win with illegal punches to the back of the head, a day-of-show drug testing controversy, Ken Shamrock appearing in a wheelchair to sell his "injury" from being attacked by Owen Hart, and of course, reviews of each fight (including Chuck Liddell's first ever fight and Pete Williams upsetting Mark Coleman).

- Slamboree is in the books and was an average show. Scott Hall turned on Kevin Nash in the main event, which both Hall and Nash lobbied against, trying to convince Bischoff that it was a bad idea, but he wouldn't change his mind and threatened them with breach of contract if they didn't go along with it. Dave says turns out Hall and Nash were right, since there have been so many hotshot heel turns lately that it totally fell flat. Plus, Hall is scheduled to check into rehab again right after Nitro the next night and will be gone for another 4-6 weeks, so that doesn't really leave them anywhere to go with the feud. Benoit lost again, making it 6 losses out of the last 7 PPVs and the 4th time straight he's challenged for a title on PPV and lost. Dave basically implies that Benoit is being buried and then says, "If you're confused as to why, re-read the notes about the Pillman Memorial show closely and it'll all make perfect sense." No idea what he's talking about there. Benoit beat Jericho at that Pillman show, but not sure of anything that would lead to him getting buried. They showed a limo, implying it was Vince McMahon showing up to fight Bischoff and Tony Schiavone made a comment saying that you'd know it's McMahon if you see Jim Ross getting out of the limo carrying his bags. Dave says the extreme professional jealousy Schiavone has for Ross dates back to 1989 when Ross took over commentary from Schiavone and that it's no work. Schiavone really dislikes Jim Ross.

- Dave has re-watched the Misawa vs. Kawada match from the recent AJPW Tokyo Dome show and updates his rating. He originally rated it 4.25 stars but says he thinks upon second viewing, he underrated it and bumps it up to 4.75 and says it's clearly the match of the year so far in 1998, although not quite as good as previous Misawa vs. Kawada matches.

- NJPW's president is planning to meet with Eric Bischoff to discuss reforming the working relationship between the 2 promotions. The main issue appears to be the usage of the NWO name, which NJPW has phased out. They also are interested in bringing in WCW stars to work an upcoming Osaka Dome show. In particular, Masahiro Chono wants to bring in Dennis Rodman as his tag partner for a match. Rodman still has 1 contracted match left with WCW for $750,000 and it's unlikely NJPW is going to want to buy that contract out, since they're probably going to sell out the Osaka Dome with or without Rodman. So spending nearly a million to bring him in wouldn't be worth the investment unless the TV network decides to foot the bill and broadcast the show in prime time.

- Latest Sid Vicious story: after receiving $750 in advance to appear at a show in NY, Sid contacted the promoter the day of the show wanting more money in order to come, before finally saying he wasn't coming. Instead, he apparently stayed home in West Memphis, AR and went to a BBQ event (I mean, the BBQ here IS pretty great...).

- In ECW, Taz has been bringing out his own title belt, saying he doesn't recognize the world title Shane Douglas holds (this would end up becoming the FTW title).

- Ric Flair has filed a counter-suit against WCW, attempting to get a judge to nullify his contract which would allow him to jump to WWF. Apparently, Eric Bischoff has offered to drop his lawsuit against Flair if he will return to work, but Flair is hesitant to do it since he hasn't been happy in WCW for a long time. Speaking of Flair, he's still leading the vote for Time Magazine's internet poll for Man of the Century. To show how ridiculous it's become, Raven is somehow in 4th place.

- Ultimate Warrior has agreed to a deal with WCW and should be starting soon, though no word exactly when. It will probably be in July sometime, although if the ratings don't look good, they may rush it and bring him in sooner. Dave thinks he'll draw big ratings for a couple of weeks just for the curiosity factor, but after a month, he doubts Warrior will mean much in the ratings. Plus, Dave is pretty much expecting him to self-destruct in WCW and end up leaving on bad terms, since that's what Warrior always does everywhere he goes.

- Eric Bischoff has reportedly talked about dropping the tag titles entirely because he thinks tag team wrestling is old and boring.

- WCW Injury Report: Lodi is still out after breaking his ankle and should be back in a month. Prince Iaukea is out with a knee injury. Scott Norton is out with pneumonia. Stevie Ray and Barbarian both are out dealing with hepatitis issues. Curt Hennig is out injured and there's been consideration of having the NWO Wolfpac group turn on him and kick him out of the group. Kevin Nash in particular is pushing for it because they never wanted Hennig in the group anyway.

- There have been discussions of doing a best-of-7 series with Chris Benoit and Booker T, similar to the famous Nikita Koloff/Magnum TA matches from many years ago.

- Darren Drozdov debuted on Raw using the name Puke and was introduced as the third member of LOD 2000.

- The Jackyl interviewed Howard Stern alumni Crackhead Bob and Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf on Raw which was a bad idea because Hank ended up swearing up a storm and needed to be bleeped throughout. This led to Jackly introducing his new group, which will be a group of human oddities. Princess Luna (Vachon), Golga (which Dave mis-hears as "Gold Gut" and is John Tenta under a mask), and Giant Silva, the 7'3 guy they recently signed.

- Jim Cornette and his longtime girlfriend got married this past week in Las Vegas.

- Dave says the only chance Dan Severn had of getting over in WWF was for them to bring him in as a UFC outsider and have him destroy people in a way that is different from normal pro wrestling. They didn't do that. And Severn is floundering. Ken Shamrock has also been booked poorly but has managed to do okay for himself, but Severn just doesn't have the charisma to overcome the terrible booking. They're talking about turning him babyface, but Dave thinks they should just tie an anvil to his foot and throw him in the Hudson River to see how long he can tread water because the result will be the same.

- Shawn Michaels' back is said to be slowly recovering and it looks like he won't need surgery. They're hoping to have him back at the beginning of 1999.

- Steve Williams signed a WWF contract this week and will be starting soon.

- A 14-year-old girl named Nichole Pate made news this week after being sent home from school 2 days in a row for wearing a Steve Austin t-shirt. Since the shirt doesn't have any profanity or anything obscene on it, she felt she should have the right to wear it and the school disagreed. The story made the local newspaper and the school put out a statement saying that the student handbook forbids students from wearing clothing that has anything to do with drugs, alcohol, gang-related symbols or violence, and the principal told the paper that he thinks the shirt is a symbol of violence. The girl's parents are supporting her and her father pointed out that kids wear Dennis Rodman jerseys, saying he doesn't portray a good message to kids.
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- It's apparently going to be a slow week because the main story is Dave looking back at the first half of 1998 and giving his personal opinion on all the bests/worsts of the year so far. I won't go into all of them because this is just Dave's opinions, not the actual year-end awards. But some notes: Wrestler of the Year, Box Office Draw, Feud of the Year, Best Interviews, Most Charismatic....Dave pretty much gives all of them to Steve Austin, who is by far the hottest wrestling star in the industry right now and says that even Hogan in his 80s peak wasn't at the level Austin is at right now in terms of having the company built around him, merch sales, etc. Best Promotion, WWF. Best TV show, Raw. Unless something changes between now and December, then Bill Goldberg is the obvious Rookie of the Year pick. But overall, the first half of 1998 has clearly been WWF's year. The company is simply firing on all cylinders right now. (someone on Twitter right now: "Waaaaaaah Dave never says anything nice about WWE!")

- In WWC in Puerto Rico, the universal champion El Nene quit the promotion and refused to drop the title because he claims he is owed $900 by one of the promoters. He was scheduled to drop the belt to Rey Gonzalez, but refused. They eventually paid him some of the $900 he was owed, so he returned the title belt to the company but still didn't work the match. So they tried to award the title to Gonzalez by forfeit but he refused to accept the belt and got on the mic in front of the fans and also said he was owed money.

- Promo Azteca is facing a lot of financial problems. The company hasn't folded yet, contrary to rumors, but it's not looking good. And most of the WCW wrestlers are no longer working there either, which also doesn't help. They're in desperate need of television but the network they were on said they won't be bringing them back to TV until after the World Cup ends, which might be too late for this promotion.

- WWF is putting together a WWF Latino show that will air in Mexico on Saturday afternoon and are looking to sign up several Mexican wrestlers. The idea is to start doing tapings later this year. The plan is to give the show a Mexican feel, and they plan to film it in American cities with large Hispanic populations and basically run it as its own separate Mexican promotion, apart from regular WWF programming. WCW has had a similar idea for years but have always dragged their feet on it. But now that WWF has secured a TV deal and already started signing guys, WCW is suddenly trying to catch up. They're meeting with EMLL's Paco Alonso to try to work out a deal since Promo Azteca is crumbling.

- Horace Boulder (Hogan's real-life nephew) recently signed with WCW and as a result, he no-showed what was scheduled to be his final tour with FMW. His scheduled opponent for many of the shows, The Gladiator, got on the mic and buried Boulder to the crowd and said he left to sign with WCW because wrestling there is easy. Dave says to tell that to all the guys who are currently injured or tell it to the wives of everyone there who are going through divorces.

- NWA president Howard Brody has issued a challenge to ECW after being harassed by ECW fans online this week. Brody challenged Heyman to put up his best guy against the NWA's best guy in a shoot fight. Dave thinks this is silly, but he also points out that Dan Severn is still the NWA champion so, yanno....if you're gonna make challenges like that, I guess it's good to have Severn on your side.

- Lots of people banged up in ECW: Shane Douglas is still dealing with a million injuries as talked about before. Sandman is still working despite being so injured from various things that he can barely do anything at all. Jerry Lynn's eye is swollen shut from an errant RVD kick. Mikey Whipwreck has an injured shoulder and bad knees. Justin Credible has suffered 2 concussions in recent weeks, and one of them had him totally unconscious for 2 minutes during a match but they kept wrestling around him until he woke up.

- ECW probably won't be back to Monaca, PA anytime soon. A local priest attended their last show and then went on an anti-ECW crusade, writing letters to the local paper and throwing a fit to the venue owners, so the building they were at has decided to no longer let ECW run shows there.

- ECW will have a CD being released soon, featuring lots of rock bands such as Slayer, Anthrax, Pantera, ICP, Rob Zombie, Biohazard, and more (a lot of those bands didn't actually make the album but here it is).


- Dennis Rodman is pretty much confirmed to be working next month's Bash at the Beach PPV in a tag match with Hogan. WCW is trying to get another major NBA name for that show and Dave suspects it will be Karl Malone, since they've been bringing up his name a lot recently.

- Ultimate Warrior is expected to start with WCW soon (going by the name The Warrior) but it seems to be dependent on the ratings. Basically, they'll keep putting off his debut as long as they can still beat WWF in the ratings, but if WWF wins the ratings war for the next week or two, then WCW will likely pull the trigger and bring him in sooner than later. They've also had discussions with Sid Vicious about coming in. Between the two of them, Dave says this is proof that no matter what your track record is, you can always find work in wrestling if you were ever popular in the past.

- Eric Bischoff's secretary Janie Engle had quit WCW and was planning to jump to WWF, but she was given a huge raise by Bischoff and it was enough to change her mind, so she's staying with WCW now. She has worked for the company dating back to the pre-WCW Jim Crockett days and is one of the people with the most inside knowledge of WCW aside from Bischoff himself. So he was desperate to keep her from going to WWF, thus the giant truckload of money to get her to stay (I'm surprised this didn't happen more often. The WCW office employees weren't under contract. Seems to me like WWF could have swooped in, made big money offers to all the important staff people, and hired them away all at once and it would have been devastating to the company. Or vice-versa, why didn't WCW raid the Titan offices?)

- On Nitro, Mortis cut a promo saying he's changing his name to Kanyon.

- Nitro ended with the NWO Wolfpac offering Sting a Wolfpac shirt and asking him to join. The show went off the air with Sting unsure if he would accept, which Dave says was a good cliffhanger. For what it's worth, after the show went off the air, Sting accepted the shirt and put it on which got a huge pop from the crowd, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything and was likely just done to send the crowd home happy.

- All the Nitro Girls' contracts are coming due soon. Dave says WCW has missed the boat by not merchandising them more, like putting out a Nitro Girls calendar for instance. Speaking of, the Nitro TV rating has been changed from TV-PG to TV-14 which seems to indicate they may be going a little more risque to try to compete with WWF.

- WCW is considering doing Thunder tapings every other week in order to ease the travel burden on the wrestlers. Morale in the locker room is said to be at an all-time low due to the schedule and all the other usual WCW reasons. Obviously if they tape Thunder in advance, it would probably create continuity issues because WCW basically books everything on the fly at the last minute, which means taping things in advance never works out well. Over the years, it's led to tons of problems with the Saturday Night show, where storylines and matches don't make any sense because the booking changes constantly. It's not uncommon to turn on WCW Saturday Night and see some guy holding a title belt that he lost 2 weeks ago on Nitro.

- As for the other morale issues in WCW, a lot of it comes down to money. The midcard guys who work all the house shows and TVs and PPVs are making less money that the top guys who don't work house shows and basically have part-time schedules. In particular, there were a lot of people upset after the last PPV where Roddy Piper was the referee for a match. Piper's payoff for being a referee in that one match was more than a lot of the undercard guys make in an entire year of full-time travel and working. With rumors of Ultimate Warrior and Sid being brought in, surely for big money and minimal dates, the overall lay of the land in WCW has got a lot of guys upset as you can imagine.

- Scott Hall will probably be back in about a month, since he's back in rehab. Dave says the angle where Hall turned on Nash at the PPV pretty much has been dropped and not even mentioned since Hall is gone. And since they knew he was going to rehab before they even did the angle, Dave questions why even bother doing it in the first place?

- WCW injury report: basically everybody. Reportedly there's about 30 contracted wrestlers dealing with injuries right now. In fact, Nitro on May 18th was cut back to a 1 hour show at the last minute (instead of the usual 2 hour show) and when TNT asked why Nitro was going to be an hour short that week, they were told that WCW didn't have enough un-injured wrestlers to even do a 2-hour show. Dave isn't buying that, but whatever. Point being, lots of guys are hurt. Add Wayne Bloom (disc removed from his back) and Ray Traylor (back issues also) to that list.

- WCW took out a full page ad in an industry magazine touting that Nitro is the highest rated show among adults in certain demographics. Dave says the numbers WCW used are highly misleading and explains why. But either way, the purpose of it was to attract advertisers. Dave says it's true that wrestling (both WWF and WCW) draw way bigger ratings than something like basketball or baseball. But the perception is that wrestling fans are a low-rent audience that doesn't have disposable income. So even though ratings for wrestling are through the roof, advertisers still don't spend a lot of money on wrestling. Dave talks about how later this year, Raw will be pre-empted for 2 weeks because of tennis. Even though Raw would get way higher ratings than tennis, advertisers will spend more money on tennis because they believe a "higher class" of people watch it.

- Kevin Nash is reportedly interested in bringing Ric Flair into the Wolfpac group (assuming the legal situation gets cleared up), which Dave thinks is funny since just a few months ago, Nash was openly trying to push Flair out of the picture. But everybody sees big money in Flair's inevitable return, so...

- The New York Times ran a big story about Mike Tyson's lawsuit against Don King and the story talked at length about Tyson's time in WWF and how that played a significant role in his firing King. Basically, there was talk about WWF doing an action figure of Tyson, which would give him a lot of money in royalties. At this point, Tyson learned that Don King apparently owned his likeness and would be making as much, if not more money than Tyson would on something like that, and was furious because he felt like King had misled him. I think. I don't know. I didn't actually read it, I'm just sorta paraphrasing what I think Dave means. Here, read it for yourself. Shane McMahon was interviewed for the story as well and it basically seems like Shane was the one who talked Tyson into getting rid of Don King.


- On the WWF Hotline, Jim Ross was still throwing a fit about Eric Bischoff's challenge to Vince McMahon, claiming it was false advertising and implying that WWF might sue them for it. Even though Bischoff repeatedly told fans that McMahon wouldn't be there, Ross says that fans are conditioned to believe the opposite when they hear something like that. Dave thinks the judge would probably go postal and murder everybody on both sides if this silly shit ever makes it to court.

- At the Raw tapings in Nashville, there was a fire in a bathroom that sent a woman to the hospital in critical condition. Apparently she flushed the toilet and fire shot out instead. The fire dept. wasn't sure what happened but there was speculation that it could have somehow been tied to the pyro WWF was using that night. How even the fuck?!

- Sunny has been taken off the road and off TV for now to handle "a personal situation" and will come back whenever she's ready (that would be drug problems, no-shows, backstage heat with Sable, and allegedly lying about a miscarraige among other things. She ends up getting fired soon after this and wouldn't appear in WWF again until 2007).

- Edge will probably debut later this month.

- Jim Cornette went on a major rant against Mark Madden on the WWF Hotline this week. Dave offers no details.

- In the letters section, someone writes in asking why people like Benoit, Jericho, and Guerrero want to go to WWF. He says in 5 years, the business will be totally different and guys like Hogan, Flair, and Nash won't still be wrestling in 2002 (lol) and then guys like Benoit and Co. can step up and fill their shoes in WCW. And in the meantime, they're gonna keep making $300,000 a year in WCW while they wait. Dave responds and points out how WWF has a reputation for creating stars while WCW has really only created 2 (Goldberg and DDP, and Dave points out that DDP owes a lot of his success to being friends with Bischoff and being given chances he otherwise wouldn't have gotten). I love this letter because, of course, WCW didn't even exist by 2002 and all 3 of those guys were still wrestling for years beyond that.
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[+] 1 user Likes Peezy's post
Just to follow up on a question from a few months ago, I watched Die Hard With a Vengeance recently and Ludvig Borga was one of the terrorists posing as cops outside the exchange that Samuel L Jackson takes that bomb he and McClain diffused in the fountain to.
[+] 1 user Likes sanderz1's post
God I love that movie
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- The Junkyard Dog passed away this week after a car accident in Mississippi. Dave learned of this story right as he was finishing up the issue so he doesn't have a ton of info at press time. It's believed JYD fell asleep at the wheel on I-20 near Forest, MS and crashed. Dave writes a brief obituary but I won't bother with it here because the next issue has the full story and a loooooong recap of JYD's career so we'll get to it then.

- WCW Bash At the Beach takes place next month and the planned main event is Hogan/Dennis Rodman vs. another wrestler and celebrity (rumored to be NBA star Karl Malone). The plan has been for DDP to be the wrestler but Hulk Hogan held a secret meeting at his house with his inner circle (The Giant, Randy Savage, Ed Leslie, etc.) and discussed plans for the show. Hogan is pushing for Savage to be in the main event rather than DDP. Hogan feels like Savage is a bigger mainstream name and it would make more sense for him to be the guy rather than DDP. Many think DDP being involved in the match is a political decision since he and Eric Bischoff are close friends. In the end, it's Bischoff's decision to make but given Hogan's power, it's expected that Savage will likely end up getting the role (nope).

- WCW has a Nitro scheduled for the Georgia Dome next month and they already broke the company all-time gate record with the first day ticket sales. 14,000+ tickets were sold on the first day for over $540,000+ dollars, which breaks the record set by Starrcade this past December. They'll likely end up with nearly 40,000 in attendance for the show and a gate near $1 million which would be the first time any American company other than WWF has done that. Interestingly enough, Hogan volunteered to work a non-title dark match on the show against Goldberg, which should help sell a lot more tickets when they announce it locally. Since it'll be a non-title dark match, Hogan reportedly has no problem doing the job and keeping Goldberg's win streak intact and then collecting a big fat paycheck for the huge crowd he helped draw. Of course, being WCW, this could all change and Dave says that, given the ratings war and WWF's sudden resurgence, he wouldn't be surprised if this ends up being a heavily promoted match that ends up airing on TV, although as of now, that's not the plan.

- Speaking of ratings, WWF Raw had its biggest win in over 2 years against Nitro this week, winning by their largest margin since the early days of Nitro back in 1995. Interestingly enough, Dave points out how Hogan has been smartly playing the ratings game backstage, choosing which shows and PPVs he wants to appear on based on what he thinks the ratings will be. For instance, he chose not to appear on the previous PPV because Nitro's timeslot had bounced around due to the NBA playoffs. So he wisely figured that the buyrate would probably be lower than normal and chose not to work the show. But then he does work the next PPV, when it had a proper build, and the buyrate is higher, so on paper it looks like Hogan is the one responsible. Dave basically says Hogan is no dummy and it's not an accident that he's been able to manipulate WCW into giving him monster contracts. But anyway, this week on Nitro, the ratings actually dropped with Hogan on the show and it looks like his usual Teflon drawing power seems to be taking a hit, which coincides with Steve Austin's rapid rise as the top star in the industry. In fact, WCW has had a massive decline in the last 6 weeks, with everything seemingly sliding in the wrong direction while the WWF rocket just keeps rising. Dave talks about all the random heel turns in recent weeks that had no build or logic or reasoning behind them (Hart, Giant, Luger, Sting, Hall, Dusty Rhodes, etc.). We're 3 years from WCW going out of business, but Dave is already making comparisons to the demise of Jim Crockett Promotions back in 87-88 and says there's a lot of eerie similarities that WCW needs to get in check ASAP. As for WWF, it's worth noting that the ratings have been peaking early in the show and then dropping off before the end, which Dave thinks is a sign that Austin and McMahon are being overexposed since they get a ton of TV time during nearly every segment of the show. WWF seemingly agreed and this week on Raw, they toned down the constant Austin/McMahon drama until late in the show.

- WWF's Over The Edge PPV is in the books and was more of the usual: a fantastic main event and a terribly weak undercard. The Austin vs. Dude Love main event was probably the best match of the year so far in the U.S. but that's more of a testament to how weak this year has been when it comes to great matches. Dave also says that WWF is basically an upside down pyramid balancing on one person: Steve Austin, and if he gets injured, they're in deep shit. Some people, like DX, are really popular with their promos and entrances, but when the bell rings, the crowds don't really care about anyone but Austin (see the crowd chanting "Boring!" during the DX match on this PPV, for example).

- Other notes from the PPV: Sunny was back on TV this week, in the corner of LOD 2000 (that ended up being one of her final WWF appearances). Dave gives Rocky Maivia vs. Faarooq negative stars. Vader lost to Kane in a mask vs. mask match and afterwards he cut a promo nearly crying and calling himself a "fat piece of shit." They did a terrible angle for the local fan with Mad Dog Vachon, The Crusher, and Jerry Lawler that Dave says was just embarrassing. Dave gives the main event 4.5 stars.

- AJPW's latest tour has been the worst drawing tour in years, primarily due to the fact that Mitsuharu Misawa is still out of action and won't be back for awhile.

- Power Pro Wrestling in Memphis announced their first show at the Mid South Coliseum, which will be headlined by Jerry Lawler vs. Kane, on loan from WWF (here's a video with highlights from the match and a great Jim Cornette promo afterward).

- Dave issues a correction on last week's issue. When talking about Sid Vicious no-showing recent events, Dave accidentally used the word "professional" when he meant to say "unprofessional."

- ECW will be bringing in Masato Tanaka and have signed him to a 6-month deal.

- Justin Credible was finally given his release from WWF so he's 100% ECW now.

- Time Magazine threw out 40,000 of the votes for Ric Flair in their online Man of the Century poll, but it doesn't matter because the votes keep rolling in and now Flair is already back in 2nd place (behind Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who founded the country of Turkey). Anyway, speaking of Flair...

- The latest on the WCW/Flair situation is that Flair's lawyers are trying to get his contract re-structured before he'll agree to return. Among the things Flair is asking for is for travel days to count against his total number of dates (for instance, if he has to work 100 days a year, and he has to leave on a Sunday to get to Nitro on Monday, he wants both Sunday and Monday to count as 2 days out of his 100). He also wants to make sure he still gets paid for the days WCW accused him of no-showing, and for WCW to cover his legal expenses for the lawsuit they filed against him. And finally, if Flair were to suffer a career-ending injury, he wants to make sure WCW still pays him 50% of the money on his contract (which runs through 2001). There's a few other little things Dave mentions, but those are the major ones.

- Scott Steiner has been in Vancouver with Hulk Hogan filming the sequel to Hogan's TV movie Assault on Devil's Island (I didn't watch it to see if/where Steiner is).

- People backstage in WCW are raving about Goldberg saying that he hasn't let his success go to his head at all, which is unheard of. Apparently he's still super humble and gracious despite rapidly becoming one of the biggest stars in the company.

- In the highlight of Nitro, Chris Jericho filmed a skit in Washington D.C. proclaiming himself the victim of a WCW conspiracy theory and trying to talk to the president and lawmakers about it and even going into the law library to try to find the WCW rulebook. Dave thinks it was absolutely hilarious. He's not wrong.

- Goldberg faced La Parka on Nitro this week and the crowd went absolutely insane for Goldberg. The match saw La Parka hit Goldberg with a hard chairshot, which Goldberg no-sold and then speared La Parka so hard that it's believed he tore his ACL in his knee. No word on how bad the injury is yet (he'd be out for about 3 months).

- Kevin Nash has been out of action the last couple of weeks with a concussion and won't be working the upcoming PPV. It apparently happened during the angle where Hall turned on Nash. Speaking of, that whole thing seems to have basically been dropped now. They've barely mentioned Hall on TV at all since he went to rehab again and Nash never addressed it in promos.

- Jerry Sags of the Nasty Boys has filed a lawsuit against WCW, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall over his neck injury suffered last year which he says is career ending. Sags claims to have suffered a concussion and spinal injuries after Hall hit him with a chair at a house show in Jan. 1997 in Shreveport. Sags was going into the match already with a bad neck and asked Hall and Nash to take it easy, but Hall ended up clobbering him with the chair anyway, leading to them to get into a real fight in the middle of the match, where Sags knocked out several of Hall's teeth. The interesting part of the lawsuit is whether the court decides wrestling is a sport. The lawsuit was filed in Florida, and there's laws there saying that anyone participating in a sport assumes the risks involved so for Sags' case to have a chance, the court will have to rule that wrestling is entertainment rather than sport.

- Raw notes: Undertaker basically came out without his gimmick and cut a worked-shoot promo on Vince McMahon ("and without the lifts in his shoes, he only looked three or four inches taller than McMahon" Dave adds). Also, Jacqueline debuted as Marc Mero's new valet.

- Stevie Richards got a WWF tryout as a color commentator.

- WWF has re-signed with USA Network for another 3 years (they'll be moving to TNN when this contract is up, but we'll get there...)
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- We open this time with a full, looooooooooong as hell obituary and biography for Junkyard Dog, who died in a car accident the week before. Nationally, he's most well known for his mid-80s run in WWF, but he was also one of the biggest stars ever in the Mid South region and if not for drugs, Dave thinks he'd probably have gone on to be an even bigger star nationally and would likely be remembered today with the same reverence as Hogan, Flair, Piper, etc. He was a horrible wrestler, but his charisma and mic skills made him a megastar in the Mid South. Anyway, Dave goes into a ton of detail on his early life, the first years of his career in Stampede, and his rise in Mid South when Bill Watts made him the face of the company. Dave talks about how JYD's rise back then was similar to Goldberg's now, where he was fed an endless stream of people and dominated them and became unbeatable and the crowds ate it up just like they have with Goldberg. Dave recaps the famous angle where the Freebirds "blinded" JYD. It created such sympathy for JYD that at one point a fan jumped the barricade with a gun and pointed it at Michael Hayes to protect JYD. The angle eventually drew 30,000+ fans to the Superdome for JYD vs. Hayes in a dog collar match. For a company only a year old and featuring 2 guys that almost no one in the country outside of that region had ever heard of, that was obviously huge and helped put Mid South on the map. For the next several years, they were routinely drawing 20,000 or more to the Superdome several times per year. But during this time, JYD got hooked on cocaine and gained weight and then WWF came calling. JYD bailed on Mid South without notice to go work for Vince. A year later, he returned to New Orleans and teamed with Hogan in the main event at the Superdome and only drew 6,000 fans. JYD's marriage also fell apart and his wife was institutionalized and later tried to kidnap their daughter which led to JYD fighting with her brother (a police officer) and shooting him (later ruled accidental). He eventually got fired from WWF for multiple no-shows, went broke and eventually lost his car, home, etc. He had a final run in WCW in the early 90s and had been working indies ever since. He still had a rep for no-shows and never had a stable address. At one point recently, he was working for Walmart in Las Vegas and couldn't get a job with WWF or WCW and reportedly still had a drug problem up until his death.

- JYD's death came as he was driving home from his daughter's high school graduation but sadly, even that doesn't have a happy ending. He arrived several hours late, after the graduation had already ended and his daughter had already left with friends, so he never saw her before he died. She didn't find out until the next morning that he had even attempted to come to the graduation and she also learned of his death at the same time. Buddy Landel was the only fellow wrestler at his funeral (in Wadesboro, NC), although the Funks and Ted Dibiase sent flowers. Michael Jordan also sent a card. But there were close to 2,000 other locals in attendance, as he was still a celebrity there.

- WCW has filed a lawsuit against WWF that is almost identical to the lawsuit WWF filed against them in 1996. The suit alleges use of WCW trademarks, violating unfair trade practices laws, and other such stuff. The lawsuit is asking for $2 million in damages and for a court injunction preventing WWF from mentioning WCW or its wrestlers, showing WCW logos, or any of that. All of these seems to stem from the DX skits where they showed up at WCW events and aired the footage on TV. As a result of the lawsuit, WWF has stopped all references to WCW. The lawsuit in 1996 was WWF claiming that WCW was trying to mislead the public into thinking Scott Hall and Kevin Nash still worked for WWF and that there was a WWF vs. WCW angle happening. WCW's lawsuit basically alleges the same thing, talking about all the times WWF has disparaged WCW or attempted to mislead fans (Billionaire Ted skits, giving the false impression that Hall and Nash would be returning with the Fake Razor & Diesel gimmicks, claiming on TV that Hall and Nash are being held hostage by WCW, Jim Cornette's anti-WCW rants, etc.). The suit also talks about how they infringed on the CNN trademark when they aired footage of DX at the CNN Center prominently showing the logo. The lawsuit also goes on to complain about HHH imitating sometime WCW ring announcer Michael Buffer, saying "X-Pac" is a violation of the "Syxx-Pac" name he sometimes went by in WCW, comments that have been made on WWF's hotline, in WWF Magazine, etc.

- There was also this little nugget, which Dave says WCW is actually 100% correct on: "As part of its presentation on April 27, Titan willfully and maliciously represented falsely that WCW was offering free tickets to its Nitro event in Norfolk. In the professional wrestling business, the giving away of free tickets to an event on the day of the show is a response to a failure to sell out the venue, and it reflects badly on a promotion, suggesting that an insufficient number of fans are willing to pay to see the show. WCW had in fact sold out the Norfolk event far in advance. Titan falsely and maliciously telecast video footage suggesting that tickets were being given away by the juxtaposition of an unrelated message on the marquee of the Scope with the message announcing that evening's Nitro event. This maliciously altered footage was replayed on the May 2 Live Wire and the WWF Superstars that appeared on USA on May 3." Dave says it's true that the show was sold out and WWF did indeed edit the footage to make it look like they were advertising free tickets. It's pretty much the only thing Dave thinks might hold up in court. But then again, on the same night on Nitro, Tony Schiavone made a comment about WWF not being able to give away tickets to Raw when in reality, the show was legit sold out also. So, yanno.

- Basically, any time WWF has even remotely acknowledged WCW's existence, it's probably listed in the lawsuit. Dave says most of it comes off as frivolous but hey, a lot of WWF's lawsuit against WCW was frivolous also. It was probably filed mostly just to get WWF to shut up about WCW, just as WWF's lawsuit made Turner force Eric Bischoff to stop running down WWF for awhile. In the end, this is nothing more than 2 companies that hate each other trying to hurt each other with petty lawsuits. Because that's where we're at now in this war.

- Dennis Rodman made major headlines this week after blowing off basketball practice in the middle of the NBA Playoffs to make an appearance on Nitro instead. The story became a huge topic of conversation in the sports world. Rodman reportedly called coach Phil Jackson just before practice and told him he couldn't make it. When Jackson asked why, Rodman simply hung up on him. No one knew why he couldn't make practice until later that night when he showed up on television on Nitro. The deal was put together last week in response to WCW losing in the ratings to WWF. They wanted Rodman to make an appearance on the show but they couldn't promote it ahead of time because that would alert the Bulls that he planned to no-show practice. Footage ran in all the news outlets of Rodman and Hogan attacking DDP with chairs. Rodman was fined $10,000 by the NBA and another undisclosed amount by the Bulls for no-showing practice (and surely pissed off his entire team in the process).

- Bischoff has obviously made the decision to keep DDP in the main event of Bash at the Beach, where he's expected to team with NBA star Karl Malone against Hogan and Rodman. Remember, Hogan had been pushing for Randy Savage to get the spot but Bischoff overruled him. Malone's involvement isn't expected to be announced until after the NBA Playoffs are over.

- Mr. Aguila (who has been working in WWF recently under the name Papi Chulo) worked EMLL's big anniversary show and was booed out of the building despite being a babyface. He's been wrestling unmasked in WWF and word apparently got out that he had dishonored Mexican tradition by willingly unmasking in the United States for no reason, so they booed the shit out of him when he tried to use his masked Mr. Aguila gimmick in Mexico.

- WCW and NJPW seem to have patched things up. Chris Benoit, Brian Adams, and Scott Norton are advertised for NJPW shows in July and they've started slowly using the NWO name more often.

- ECW's upcoming Heat Wave PPV in August was originally planned for Indianapolis but it looks like it will be moved to Dayton, OH because there's a big NASCAR race happening that weekend in Indianapolis (Brickyard 400) and finding available hotels, rental cars, and flights into the city is pretty much impossible.

- For the first time in a long time, ECW failed to sell out the ECW Arena, although a lot of people blamed it on a mass transit strike happening in town that shut down a lot of city transportation. It was said to be the worst ECW show in a long time.

- ECW Injury Report: Shane Douglas is getting elbow surgery this week and will be out until the November PPV. Justin Credible has been groggy for weeks dealing with multiple concussions but he's still working.

- WCW is meeting with Ric Flair this week for settlement talks, in hopes that they can bring him back at the Georgia Dome episode of Nitro and have him reform the Four Horsemen with himself, Chris Benoit, Bill Goldberg, and one other person, still undecided. Arn Anderson would be the J.J. Dillon-type manager of the group. This was basically the original plan before Flair got suspended. On a recent radio show, Gene Okerlund claimed Flair will be returning soon, but Flair's attorneys then called Okerlund and told him to make a retraction because it wasn't true.

- Eric Bischoff had a meeting with all the wrestlers before Nitro last week to discuss various topics. The main issue was the travel, with Bischoff promising to make the schedule easier and that he wouldn't book more than 18 dates per month and that there would be at least one 6-day break each month with no shows. He talked about all the injuries everyone is dealing with, saying that was why he is easing the schedule but also asked that people try harder to work through injuries, which as you can imagine, everyone was just thrilled with that idea. He also announced that Dusty Rhodes will have a bigger role in the booking and also scolded the wrestlers for arriving late to TV tapings and house shows and said WCW will start fining guys who are late.

- Starting in August, Thunder will be taped every other week so they'll do 4-hour tapings, with one show being live and the other one being filmed for the next week. Dave says it's going to be trouble for WCW because this means they'll have to be organized and can't change things at the last minute like they do every week now because they will have to factor in things that were taped in advance. This also pretty much establishes Thunder as the secondary show that they aren't taking as seriously as Nitro.

- There's been talk of doing a bunch of upcoming heel and face turns in WCW, as if they haven't done enough already. Curt Hennig and Rick Rude are expected to turn and join Hogan's NWO along with possibly Randy Savage. Meanwhile, when Scott Hall returns, he may join back up with Nash, thus completely negating the heel turn a few weeks back that was already pretty much totally forgotten. Hall is expected back from rehab in a couple of weeks. Nash also doesn't want DDP in the Wolfpac group so that may change also.

- Dave recaps Nitro this week and just shits all over the dozens of things that didn't make sense or the terrible matches. Hogan had, like, 8 different segments throughout the show. The Bischoff/Savage/Liz storyline has a million plotholes which Dave gleefully points out. So on and so forth. The only bright spot was Goldberg's match, and Dave says the crowd went absolutely nuts for Goldberg more than possibly any pro wrestler in history aside from Antonio Inoki in Japan at times. So yeah...Goldberg is OVER. Dave points out that Goldberg's Nitro win made him 99-0 but they have 2 house shows scheduled before the PPV this Sunday, which will make Goldberg 101-0. But they're not planning to acknowledge those, so Goldberg's match with Konnan at the PPV will be recognized as his 100-0 match, although in reality it will make him 102-0. There had been talk of having Curt Hennig attack Konnan in the match, which would cause Goldberg to lose by DQ and prevent him from getting to 100-0 but luckily, less idiotic heads prevailed and they won't be doing that.

- Latest plans on Ultimate Warrior is for him to debut in August or September, but again that can all change depending on the ratings. If WCW keeps losing to WWF, expect him to debut sooner. No definite word on his contract, but allegedly it's for him to work around 36-38 dates for about $1 million. Which should do wonders for the morale of all the other WCW guys who don't even make anywhere remotely close to that much money and work 5x as many shows. They're producing new music for him and plan to give him a crazy laser lights show entrance even more elaborate than Glacier. Dave gives it 3 weeks before Warrior wears out his welcome and means absolutely nothing to the ratings and fans.

- Oh, we're not done with Dave's snarkiness, as he reviews this week's Thunder episode also and shits all over it too. He talks about how much Brian Adams sucks but WCW continues to give him a significant push simply because he was in WWF recently ("and nobody cared about him there either"). But, once again, Goldberg was hugely over, as he's by far the biggest star in the company right now and it's not even close.

- The Nitro Girls (other than Kimberly, who is the leader) were all making $50,000 a year and, as a group, they're asking for a raise to $65,000 each.

- The Giant is considering knee surgery on both of his knees, since both are currently in bad shape.

- Rey Mysterio was supposed to do a return angle on Nitro and he was backstage ready to go, but since Hogan apparently needed 8 segments for himself during the show, Mysterio's return got axed.

- Apparently an unnamed mid-card wrestler failed a drug test for steroids (Dianabol, which is an old 80s steroid that almost no one uses anymore). It struck people as interesting since somehow only 1 guy failed when there's obviously more using it. Anyway, Bischoff ordered the guy to attend a 1-day counseling session as punishment. That'll learn him!

- Turner execs took out a full page ad in an industry-leading advertising publication that was full of complete bullshit about WCW. According to the story, in 1989, Ted Turner bought a wrestling company that was doing tiny ratings (they were actually doing 4.0's and higher every week) and running shows in high school gyms (no). Turner gave it a complete overhaul and now WCW runs 300 house shows a year (no) and most of them sell out the first day tickets go on sale (no).

- WWF's Raw at Madison Square Garden was sold out with nearly 20,000 people and a gate of nearly $400,000 which is the largest gate WWF has ever had in the U.S. for a non-PPV show. A recent Evander Holyfield fight booked for Madison Square Garden was cancelled and it was noted that they only sold 5,000 tickets. New York Daily News, when covering the story, said maybe boxing needed to bring in Austin and McMahon, since they just sold out MSG.

- WWF recently did a weigh-in on everybody and Vader and Faarooq came in heavier than WWF wanted, so both men are basically being buried on TV until they lose weight (in case you were wondering why Vader was scripted to call himself "a fat piece of shit" at the last PPV).

- The Summerslam main event will likely be Steve Austin vs. Undertaker, but that's not official yet. The original plans had been Austin vs. Vince McMahon but that's since been changed. Tickets are already on sale and they sold over $100,000 worth of tickets within 2 hours.

- There's been talk of having Vince McMahon act as sort of a manager for Steve Regal and Steve Williams, and bringing them both in as "shooter" types who Vince has hired to take out Steve Austin. Lots of Steves here.

- Sunny showed up 6 hours late for the recent TV tapings in Rockford, IL and was heavily fined for it. Dave says it's almost impossible for Sunny to not look good, but she came as close to not looking good as she possibly can at that taping. There's been a lot of different rumors as to why she was off the road recently, but Dave hasn't been able to independently confirm any of them so he doesn't want to speculate (this is right around the time Sunny gets fired for having a bad drug and alcohol problem and allegedly lying about having a miscarriage to explain why she missed a show).

- WWF has a show in August at Foxboro Stadium in Boston and they're hoping to get some of the New England Patriots players to be special referees or lumberjacks or something for the show.

- Dan Severn is no longer wearing the NWA belt on TV and they've stopped talking about his UFC credentials, and instead only mention his college wrestling days.

- An elementary school in California was recently defaced by racist graffiti and Nazi symbols and, amidst all the other hateful graffiti, the vandals also painted "3:16" and "NWO 4 life." The story made major news in California.

- Some notes on Adam Copeland, who should be debuting as Edge sometime in the next few weeks: he's from Orangevale, ONT in Canada and won a contest in 1992 (when he was 17) to be trained as a wrestler. He started wrestling in 1993 as Adam Impact ("What's Adam Impact doing in the, uh...Impa...umm...") and later became known as Sexton Hardcastle on the indie scene.
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[+] 1 user Likes Peezy's post
Shit's running slow
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So let's bump this shit to page 3
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