Wrestling Observer Newsletter Rewind Thread • 1998
On Nitro, whoever was doing the closed captioning apparently decided to play a prank. During a Hogan promo, every time he mentioned "NWO black & white", the closed captioning kept typing "Steve Blackman."

It's criminal if there is no video of this.
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Not sure if you would be awake or interested in this Peezy, but Dave and Bryan are doing a live Mailbag the Friday morning before WM.

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I saw that. Might be cool, but I don't know if everyone with us will be interested in that. I would and Tim might be, but our wives are going too. My wife likes wrestling well enough and she tolerates my obsession for it, but I feel like dragging her to see Dave Meltzer "um" his way through 2 hours of answering questions from dumb wrestling fans might be testing her patience. She wants to do some other non-wrestling stuff while we're in NOLA also.
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[+] 1 user Likes Peezy's post

- This past week, the new season of Monday Night Football debuted featuring a SuperBowl rematch between the Packers and Broncos, and it drew a 9.5 rating. Airing at the same time was Raw and Nitro, which did a combined 9.9 rating. In other words: wrestling beat out a SuperBowl rematch in prime time. Because of the differences between network and cable TV, the NFL game still had about 2 million more viewers watching but still. For what it's worth, Nitro won the ratings battle this week, almost certainly due to Warrior's return leading to a ratings boost (even though the segment where Warrior appeared actually lost to Raw). On the flip-side, Nitro was also a terrible show highlighted by another meandering Warrior promo while Raw was outstanding yet again.

- Terry Garvin passed away last week at age 61 from stomach cancer and unfortunately, his life can't really be talked about without addressing the elephant in the room of the 1992 sex scandals that he played a role in. Dave does a brief recap of his career in the business leading to him working as Pat Patterson's assistant for WWF from 1985-92. Of course, in early 1992, an underage ring boy alleged that he had been sexually harassed by a male employee of WWF and the stories were picked up by major media outlets. With the company already reeling from steroid accusations, the story gained major traction and led to Terry Garvin, Pat Patterson, and Mel Phillips all "resigning." Patterson, of course, later returned. Several other people later came out of the woodwork with accusations against Garvin and Patterson saying they would often attempt to extort sexual favors from wrestlers in exchange for being better promoted. Most notably wrestler Barry O (Randy Orton's uncle) claimed Garvin made sure he was never pushed in WWF because he turned down Garvin's advances.

- A fan threw a chair in the ring at a WWC show in Puerto Rico and it hit wrestler El Texano in the eye and seriously injured him. There's concern that he may never regain vision in the eye (not sure if he did or not, but he kept wrestling for a few years after so I assume he recovered).

- Mitsuharu Misawa returned to the ring after taking off the last 3 months to recover from injuries. He worked a tag match and, afterwards he admitted that his knees were still giving him trouble and said he was only about 60% healthy but felt the company needed him to return because the last 2 tours have been the most disastrous ever for AJPW without him.

- Koko B. Ware reportedly suffered a stroke a couple of weeks ago but is recovering from it nicely and should be fine.

- NBC is planning to air a TV special called "Secrets of Pro Wrestling Exposed" in November that will go head-to-head with an episode of WWF's Sunday Night Heat. It will feature wrestlers wearing masks to protect their identities (it actually ended up being called "Exposed! Pro Wrestling's Greatest Secrets" and becomes a little bit of a big deal. But we'll get there). Speaking of networks, Fox is reportedly seriously interested about getting in on all this pro wrestling business that's so hot right now.

- Dave attended an indie show over the weekend and says everyone is raving about this Christopher Daniels guy who wrestles under the name Fallen Angel. He's had a few WWF tryouts and was apparently pretty awesome in those also, but WWF doesn't have any interest in signing guys his size right now since they've all but abandoned their light heavyweight division.

- ECW's last PPV did about 15% less buys than the previous show, which can likely be attributed to going up against the debut of WWF's Sunday Night Heat. It's almost a certainty that ECW will move future PPV start times up 1 hour to avoid going against that show in the future.

- Just gonna quote this one: "New Jack had an operation on his testicles and will be out about another month."

- For those curious about the surgeries Tammy Sytch is getting, one is to have her nose fixed. She broke it years ago as a high school cheerleader and never got it fixed properly. And the other surgery is to replace her breast implants due to medical issues with the previous ones.

- Terry Funk is reportedly interested in returning to ECW. He recently finished up with WWF, telling them he wanted to leave so he could heal up some injuries and focus on making movies, but that may have just been a lie to get out of the company since he was basically being jobbed out and now he is already looking to get back in the ring (not really. He only wrestles 4 indie shows for the next year or so before eventually re-surfacing in WCW in early-2000).

- A new guy named Big Sal Graziano debuted in ECW and was billed at 550 pounds and looks every bit of it. He jobbed twice to Spike Dudley in his first matches. Paul Heyman reportedly likes him because he has a good attitude and had no problem losing to Spike who he outweighs by several hundred pounds (he eventually joins the F.B.I.)

- As is becoming tradition, Dave shits all over Nitro in his recap. Some notes: Bischoff did a worked-shoot promo talking about being the booker and not letting Warrior into WCW and said he ran out Johnny B. Badd and Vader. He also referenced Eddie Guerrero's comments and was holding a pencil, the universal "booker" symbol. Dave talks about how Kevin Sullivan and Pillman already did this angle. Wolfpac guys came out and cut the same promo they cut every week. Roddy Piper tried out some jokes during his promo but it was awful and painful to watch. Lex Luger vs. Brian Adams was "so boring that if you look up boring in your computer dictionary, they'll be playing round-the-clock tapes of this match." I'm not sure Dave knows how dictionaries work.

- WCW injury report: no lie, Dave literally lists 21 different wrestlers in WCW dealing with injuries. Most of them are missing shows and a couple (Mysterio and Rocco Rock) will require surgery and be out for months. The whole locker room is pretty beat up.

- On the WWF side, former ECW tag team The Pitbulls worked a match against the Headbangers at the Shotgun Saturday Night tapings and looked bad.

- On Raw, they started an angle with Edge and Gangrel. Dave says the plan is to start a storyline with them similar to Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in Interview With The Vampire.

- The Brawl For All tournament finally came to an end this week, with Bart Gunn knocking out Bradshaw in 42 seconds. For winning, Gunn legit received $75,000 while Bradshaw got $25,000 for coming in second. Dave expects Gunn will probably get some kind of push from this. Speaking of, turns out Godfather was pretty badly injured in his Brawl For All match and will be out a couple of months with a broken foot and torn hamstring and knee ligaments. All told, Dave thinks the Brawl For All idea didn't work. It was an interesting idea but the ratings weren't through the roof and considering how many guys came out of it injured, it's probably not something they should try again.

- Al Snow was supposed to re-re-debut on Raw and they even passed out fake mannequin heads to the crowd in order to get the same effect ECW does with his entrance. But for whatever reason, they ended up scrapping it at the last minute and Snow never came out.

- On the WWF hotline, Jim Ross ripped into Tony Schiavone and Eric Bischoff due to the way they tried to spoil the recent main event of Raw the week before. Ross also said that Schiavone isn't that great of an announcer and that both of them have to do what their bosses tell them. But he said his boss (Vince McMahon) was a great announcer while Schiavone's boss would never be any good ("My dad can beat up your dad!" basically).

- Kurt Angle reportedly did really good in his training camp and they even had him work a couple of matches at a local indie that they send developmental guys to. Dory Funk in his corner. Angle got over as a babyface and won his matches and it looks like he'll be signed.

- Just for shits and giggles, here's an Edge vs. Christian match from that same show:

- Andrew Martin suffered a broken finger during training and had to have surgery to get a pin put in it, but he came back a few days later and worked some of the developmental shows also.

- Ted Annis (Teddy Hart) was sent home from training camp after a series of disciplinary problems, including an incident where he got into a public argument at the hotel and was late for practice 3 times (yeah that sounds about right).

- Vince McMahon was quoted in an interview this week heavily praising Ric Flair. If the judge ends up ruling in his favor and Flair is able to get out of his WCW contract, WWF definitely has a strong interest in bringing him in. But both companies have a lot of money to throw around right now so Flair would likely end up going wherever will pay him the best. Word is he's still leaning toward returning to WCW once all this legal mess gets cleared up.

- Toy company Jakks Pacific grossed $800,000 during the 2nd quarter of 1998 based only on WWF toys alone. WWF has really put this company on the map in the toy business and their action figures are among the top 5 best-selling in the toy industry.

- A TV industry magazine ran a big story on the wrestling boom, with some choice quotes. In regards to WWF's more risque product, Eric Bischoff had this to say: "Out of desperation and in order to get bigger numbers, they are going with gratuitous T and A..and women mouthing the f-word. I have nothing against going for hardcore adult themes, if indeed your network will allow you to do that, but I think it is irresponsible in the long term, and I think Vince is shooting himself in the foot." He talked about how they still sell advertising geared towards children and added, "I'd like Barry Diller (head of USA network) to justify how he sells Super Soakers, M&Ms and video games on a program that has half-naked women saying fuck you." Vince responded by saying, "Adults eat candy as well." (lol Vince, you smart ass) and he added, "What they are trying to do is say that we are so edgy that our advertisers are going to leave us. That's not true; advertisers are knocking down the door and trying to get into what we are doing. Our advertisers understand what we are doing." In the same story, another Turner executive claimed WWF was losing advertisers, but the article noted that they couldn't find a single example of an advertiser dropping the WWF to back up that claim.

- The same story also featured Vince McMahon going on about how Ted Turner has a vendetta against him over the whole Black Saturday deal back in the 80s, so Turner went out and bought his own company (WCW) to destroy Vince. Eric Bischoff's response to that: "I meet with Ted Turner probably for about five minutes a year; that's Ted's involvement in WCW. But Vince likes to portray to the media that there is a big grudge match going on between him and Ted. I kind of think if Vince were to talk into Ted Turner's office, someone would have to remind Ted who Vince is." The article talked about how WWF was winning the ratings war now because WCW diluted the product by adding Thunder. Dave thinks there may be some truth to that and it sounds good, but the real reason is simply that Raw has consistently been the better show for a long time now. And finally, Vince talked about how much happier he was with the USA Network now due to the new ownership and claims former USA head Kay Koplovitz wouldn't have allowed WWF to go in this new direction and had been a pain in the ass over the years before when he tried to push the envelope.

Here is a re-enactment of what a Vince and Ted Turner meeting would be like

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- After a 5 month legal battle, it's expected that Ric Flair will return to WCW within the next couple of weeks, likely at the 9/14 episode of Nitro in Greenville. Dave recaps the issues that began in April when Flair missed a Thunder taping to attend an amateur wrestling event his son was taking in (which Flair claimed he had asked off for well in advance but Bischoff disagreed). After the no-show, Bischoff gave a speech to the locker room, burying Flair, saying he would never come back, and promising to sue him into bankruptcy. WCW then filed a $2 million dollar lawsuit against Flair for breach of contract. Flair filed a motion to have his agreement with WCW declared void. Flair actually didn't have a contract with WCW at the time, but had instead signed a letter of intent to stay with the company through 2001. The letter of intent was to keep him there while they finished negotiating the real contract. WCW still believed it to be just as binding as a contract, while Flair contended that it was no longer valid since it was based on the two sides agreeing to mutual terms on an actual contract, which they never did. As of now, the legal issues haven't quite been settled but there have been serious settlement talks and, with the legal bills piling up for Flair, he's expected to settle with WCW and return to TV soon. It's also expected that this whole thing will be turned into an angle between Flair and Bischoff.

- Flair has been very interested in going to WWF to work an angle with Steve Austin and McMahon has publicly praised Flair recently, but WWF has not made a serious attempt to get him. It's likely due to all the pending legal issues and with so many lawsuits flying back and forth between WWF and WCW over the years, Vince likely doesn't want to get involved and risk getting sued for contract tampering. It's also worth noting that, while McMahon has praised Flair, several WWF wrestlers, most notably Undertaker and Triple H, have publicly trashed Flair for being too old and said he should retire, saying there's no place for him in WWF. Despite not being pushed as the top star for the last several years, Flair has consistently been the top ratings draw for WCW right up until he disappeared from TV in April and his segments always outdrew whatever was happening on Raw at the same time. His angle with Bret Hart earlier this year was the hottest thing going in WCW for a few weeks until they abruptly pulled the plug on it because they were reportedly unhappy with the mixed crowd reactions since fans were cheering both guys. The plan all along has been to re-form the Four Horsemen. It was supposed to happen on the Thunder taping that Flair no-showed in April and then for the last several months, they tossed around the idea of reforming the group without Flair. But 2 of the men booked to be involved (Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko) told Bischoff they didn't want to do it if Flair wasn't in it. It's expected that they will reform the group when Flair returns.

- Speaking of, the Benoit case is interesting because Bischoff reportedly told him that he wouldn't put Benoit in the group unless he re-signed with WCW and so far, Benoit has refused to sign a new contract. A few months ago, Bischoff had made it clear to most of the midcard guys who were thinking about not re-signing that he would spend the remaining year of their contract burying them if they didn't. But he's since changed his tune and has promised many of the wrestlers (particularly Benoit and Eddie Guerrero) that he will prove to them that they will be pushed if they re-sign. So Benoit will be part of the new Four Horsemen while Eddie Guerrero's current angle (being unhappy in WCW and wanting his release) will lead to him forming a stable of other underutilized Mexican wrestlers against Bischoff.

- WWF's Summerslam is in the books and was one of the best PPVs of the year. The movement to push younger stars was evident, as Val Venis and D-Lo Brown were given plenty of time in the opening match, Edge was introduced as Sable's mystery partner, and Triple H and the Rock had an excellent ladder match for the IC title that elevated both men to the next level (even though Triple H went into the match with a legit knee injury). They did a live Sunday Night Heat before the show, with Shawn Michaels joining Shane McMahon and Jim Ross for commentary. Dave says commentary is clearly not Shawn's strong suit. Shane McMahon still isn't great either although he was better this time than ever before. MSG was sold out and the live gate was the 3rd largest of the year in North America (behind Wrestlemania and the Goldberg/Hogan Nitro). However, the Lions Den match between Shamrock and Owen Hart was held at the adjacent MSG theater and they sold separate tickets for that (the Owen/Shamrock match was live in person and then people inside could watch the rest of Summerslam on the big screens) but tickets for that sold poorly, only filling up about half of the 4,500 seat building and pretty much proves that closed-circuit is dead. The crowd also seemed to wear out near the end of the night after 4+ hours of wrestling which is just too much.

- Other notes from Summerslam: they did an angle on Heat with the Nation attacking Triple H's knee to explain why he would be limping during the match later in the night since his knee really is messed up. D-Lo Brown was billed from Helsinki, Finland (ah yes, the gimmick where he was announced from different cities in Europe because he was the European champion). His match with Val Venis started good but fell apart near the end with some botched moves. The Insane Clown Posse debuted in WWF doing the entrance music for The Oddities. The Shamrock/Owen Hart lion's den match took place in a cage similar to the UFC octagon but much smaller and taller with a platform on top. In the ladder match, despite being the heel, you could tell that the Rock really won the crowd over. The Undertaker/Austin main event was marred by injuries to both men. Undertaker is still dealing with a serious ankle injury and Austin got knocked loopy early in the match when they accidentally butted heads and later in the match, Austin was legit coughing up blood.

- With Raw pre-empted due to the U.S. Open for the next 2 weeks, Nitro aired unopposed and set an all-time ratings record, doing a 6.03 rating, with nearly 4.5 million homes watching, making it the most watched pro wrestling show in the history of cable TV. This breaks the record set by Raw earlier this year when Nitro was pre-empted. This, despite the fact that it was pretty much an atrocious show. But with no Raw to compete against, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that they would do record numbers. The bad show did hurt though, as ratings dropped during the 3rd hour, due to the nearly unwatchable 2nd hour.

- The WWF has now been banned from running events at the Catholic Youth Center in Scranton, PA over concerns about the product. The building holds nearly 4,000 people and WWF has been running events there for over 30 years. But as the name implies, it's owned by a Catholic bishop and needless to say, WWF's new edgier product has rubbed him the wrong way. He described the WWF product as "slightly less than softcore porn" and pointed out that a good half of the crowd at the last WWF event there was children who were exposed to foul language and sexual content. ECW was kicked out of the same building several months ago for the same reasons and Heyman smartly just accepted it for what it was and moved on. Vince McMahon, however, went on the offensive and went to the local media, saying the venue is trying to censor people's rights to entertainment (which is funny, coming from a guy who has repeatedly tried to block WCW from having access to arenas). Anyway, it turned a small local story into a much bigger one that is getting lots of media coverage. Dave takes this time to talk about the product saying, sure it's geared towards adults and WWF makes no bones about that. But 35% of their Monday night audience is still children (and the number is much higher for the weekend shows). Obviously, that responsibility mostly falls on the parents, not Vince. But wrestling, as popular as it is, is still under the radar to the point that the mainstream still doesn't really take it seriously so they can get away with a lot of crazy shit and Vince would be smart to try and not rock the boat on that one, lest other arenas start deciding they don't like the product and then the dominoes start falling (much like what happened when UFC started having trouble finding venues even though it was booming in popularity). One final funny note, Dave says that he's not a religious person but will admit that this past Monday, he was praying that the USA Network would never pre-empt Raw again so he wouldn't have to sit through 3 straight uninterrupted hours of Nitro anymore.

- AJPW business is still doing poorly, even with Misawa back on the shows.

- NJPW star Satoshi Kojima had surgery on his left eye which is expected to keep him out for the rest of the year. It was apparently due to an accumulation of injuries to the eye area, culminating in the G-1 matches that left him unable to see out of the eye. Considering how physical the NJPW style is becoming, Dave thinks it's a bit of a miracle that there's not more injuries like this.

- Sid Vicious is booked for an indie show later this month in New Jersey. "I guess some people never learn," Dave says.

- Afa The Samoan worked a show in Austria alongside his 13-year-old son who wrestled under the name Samoan Storm and won his debut match (a battle royal) in Vienna (and here we are: the first mention of Roman Reigns, way back in 1998. And of course, he went over).

- Dave goes into detail on all the financial issues plaguing UFC right now, with Randy Couture, Dan Henderson, and Bas Rutten among others pulling out of an upcoming event because UFC can't afford to pay them what they're asking. (It really is a miracle UFC managed to survive this time period considering how dire things were looking. Maybe there's still hope for TNA yet.)

- Mike Awesome suffered a broken foot while wrestling in FMW and was immediately sent home and will probably be out of action for awhile.

- Rob Van Dam just barely avoided a horrifying injury in ECW. He and Sabu were putting Bam Bam Bigelow through a table and a piece of it slashed his eyelid and ripped it, causing part of his eyelid to be left hanging, but luckily didn't actually hit his eyeball. RVD still worked the main event of the show later that night (I can't find video of it anywhere, but I know RVD talks about this on the "One of a Kind" documentary that WWF put out several years back and they have video of it on there. You can also see it at the very end of Hardcore TV 281 if you have the Network. And yeah, he's insanely lucky he didn't lose his eye).

- ECW is doing a gimmick with Spike Dudley where he just beats people in super quick matches with his acid drop finisher. It's supposed to be sort of a spoof on how little guys never have a chance against big guys in WWF and WCW. So in this case, they're making Spike Dudley into the new 911, where he just comes out and quickly dispatches people way bigger than him with ease.

- A new valet debuted with Lance Storm in ECW going by the name Tammy Lynn Bytch and the plan is obviously for her to feud with Tammy Sytch. Her real name is Dawn Marie and she's been a valet on the east coast indie circuit for a few years. She ended up getting her dress ripped off by Sytch, which of course got a huge pop.

- Stevie Ray will likely be replacing Scott Hall in the upcoming War Games match at Fall Brawl, due to Hall dealing with a neck injury (he did indeed replace Hall in that match.....but Hall worked the PPV in a different match. More on that in a moment). Dave also breaks down the rest of the Fall Brawl card but he says that because it's WCW, this will almost certainly all change between now and then (indeed. About half of the matches he lists happens, the rest got switched around).

- Lots of backstage issues in WCW between office and executive people. Executive VP of WCW Nick Lambros has been pushed out of the company after losing some sort of power play to Eric Bischoff (Dave doesn't clarify). Lambros technically works for Turner, not WCW, so he's not out of a job but Turner is apparently looking into starting a football league (heh) and Lambros has been moved to an executive position on that product. Terry Taylor had heat with a producer and Bischoff told him to stay home the following Monday and not come to Nitro. In fact, both Taylor and Kevin Sullivan have basically been pushed out of their booking positions and are only putting together the Saturday Night show. Bischoff is booking Nitro and Thunder, mostly on the direction from Hogan and Nash.

- Scott Hall is expected to be out of action for awhile due to his latest injury but there's a lot of suspicion about that given Hall's obvious personal issues lately. A lot of eyebrows were raised when Hall got "injured" just days before a "surprise" drug test (which pretty much everybody in the locker room had gotten wind of in advance). However, those close to Hall insist that he really is injured and that he hurt himself in the gym doing squats. For what it's worth, Juventud Guerrera missed Nitro that night and a lot of people suspect it might have been for the same reason (attempting to duck a drug test).

- Vampiro is expected to officially debut as soon (he worked a throwaway match on Nitro a few weeks back but no real gimmick or character). They're basically wanting to do a Marilyn Manson look for him and they're working on getting a ring outfit made for him.

- On Nitro, they used the 7-second delay to censor when Hogan said "Ultimate" Warrior. Since WWF still owns the name of that, they're not supposed to use the "Ultimate" part but people in promos have been slipping up and saying it by accident every week.

- Goldberg was at a Miami Marlins game this week and was shown hanging out with Mark McGwire. And yes, WCW is hoping to get McGwire to wrestle during the off-season, although it's just an idea right now, there haven't been any discussions.

- Dave reviews Nitro and Thunder, as he does every week. Nothing really important here (except noting that Nick Dinsmore worked a match on Thunder), but I would be remiss if I didn't mention yet again how much Dave just shits all over nearly every aspect of WCW TV shows around this time, and it's hard to blame him. Considering the cutting edge stuff WWF was doing on Raw, WCW was horrendous around this time. But man, Dave is just ruthless in reviewing these shows.

- Sting signed a new 7-figure WCW contract and he no longer wants to work Thursdays so you may not be seeing him on Thunder much anymore.

- Goldberg missed a house show in Terre Haute, IN recently and because it's WCW, the whole thing was of course a total clusterfuck. Goldberg had asked for those 2 days off a long time ago and J.J. Dillon agreed and gave him the time off. But since no one in WCW communicates with anyone else, somehow the word never got to the promotions dept. and they continued to advertise Goldberg vs. Giant for the show. Nobody realized there was a problem until the day of the show when they got to Terre Haute and realized that Goldberg wasn't there and the Goldberg/Giant match was the only one they had ever advertised. A week earlier, Goldberg had missed a show because WCW double-booked him in 2 different cities and he couldn't get to the show in time so they ended up offering refunds to the fans, which cost them a shit-ton of money. So in this case, instead of offering refunds, they decided not to tell the fans at all. Instead, they had all the cars backstage warmed up and ready to go and as soon as the last match finished, everybody got the fuck out of Terre Haute before the fans could realize they were getting screwed. They had a show scheduled the next night in Peoria and, realizing they were going to have the same problem, they called and begged Goldberg to come work the show. Since he had asked for the time off, he wasn't happy about it, but he eventually agreed. WCW spent $11,000 to charter a jet to get him to Peoria for the show.

- Wayne Bloom and John Nord have both been released by WCW, though it's not like you'd have even known they were there.

- On the Raw tapings, Undertaker and Kane destroyed Steve Blackman to write him off TV for awhile because he's having knee surgery later this week. Also at the tapings, there was a segment where Tiger Ali Singh came out saying he wanted a woman to make out with his gross sidekick Babu who hadn't brushed his teeth in 3 days and eaten nothing but sardines and he would pay her $500. They picked a woman out of the crowd (obviously a plant) and her shirt was about as see-thru as you can legally get. The crowd began chanting "Show your tits!" and she flashed the crowd 3 different times while in the ring. After she made out with Babu, he then started kissing her breasts before Undertaker and Kane showed up and choke-slammed Singh and Babu and the girl left the ring (as you can imagine, this was heavily edited. It's on the Network, Sept. 5th episode, and she's there in her little white see-through shirt and she makes out with Babu but...that's it. This was taped a week before it aired and there's an abrupt hard edit from Babu throwing money on the ground until suddenly Undertaker and Kane are already almost down the ramp. But I'm still amazed USA Network aired it at all, given that she was apparently freezing cold in a thin white shirt).

- Other Raw taping notes: actually, since Raw is being moved to Saturdays for the next 2 weeks due to the US Open, most of Raw was throwaway stuff. And they taped a lot of the big stuff to air on Sunday Night Heat, since the one of the upcoming Heat episodes will be airing at the same time as a WCW PPV. Anyway, Insane Clown Posse appeared on Raw again with the Oddities and this time took a beating from LOD Hawk, who was out there in street clothes doing his drunk/druggie gimmick. Sable wasn't on the show because she's filming an episode of Pacific Blue for USA this week. At one point, Dustin Runnels (doing his religious normal guy gimmick since he's no longer Goldust) came out holding a sign saying, "He is coming!" which led to Val Venis showing up later in the crowd holding a sign saying, "I have come." And The Rock came out to cut a promo and despite being a heel, he got an almost universal babyface reaction. The tapings ended with Austin giving Vince, Patterson, Brisco, etc. all stunners. When announcer Shane McMahon ran in to check on his father, Austin gave him one also.

- There have been rumors of Triple H and Chyna getting married in a few months, but Triple H has been denying it. But they are indeed a real-life couple, in case you were curious.

- The people who impressed the most at the recent WWF training camps were Christian Cage, Andrew Martin, Kurt Angle, and the Hardy brothers.

- On the WWF Hotline, Jim Ross was almost apologetic about his previous comments towards Tony Schiavone. He said he believes Schiavone doesn't have a malicious bone in his body and is a nice guy with a great family and is only doing what he's told by his boss. He said the two have had issues going back for years because Ross was given the lead WCW announcer job ahead of him a long time ago but Ross said he had nothing to do with that decision and wishes they could have shared the top duties at the time. He said the people running both companies (WCW and WWF) should stop acting like 9th graders.

- Due to the school shooting a couple of months ago in Jonesboro (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitchell_J...rew_Golden), the school board in the city has banned all pro wrestling t-shirts due to some of the violent messages on them.

- Steve Austin was on Regis & Kathy Lee this week, mostly promoting the new WWF entrance music CD. WCW is also coming out with an entrance music CD sometime in the near future.

- "Lou Albano was backstage at MSG and wound up falling on his face and having to be revived." Okay then.

- The new Barry Blaustein wrestling documentary that is being filmed will essentially cover the entire industry except for WCW because they decided against being involved in the project.

- Interesting letter this week from a guy named Tom Cole, who you might remember as the under-aged victim at the center of the molestation scandal in WWF back in 1992. Since Terry Garvin passed away and Dave wrote an obituary last week, Tom Cole writes in to clarify some things and talk about his experience. Let's read it, shall we?

Quote:I'm writing you in response to your article on the death of Terry Garvin. I went back to the WWF in March of 1992 after meeting with Linda and Vince McMahon along with Jerry McDevitt. I love the wrestling business very much and as a kid I was so happy to be part of it. My dream was to work for the WWF for the rest of my life, however that was not to be.

When I was 19 and Terry Garvin summoned me to Titan Sports in Stamford, CT, I realized my dream was coming true. However, that dream soon turned into a nightmare. The job he had in mind was sex for working at Titan Sports and when I said No, that was the end of my life in the business.

A couple of years later when I came out with my story, I had no intentions on killing the wrestling business. I knew many people in the business who treated me wonderfully all my time there and the last thing I wanted to do was hurt them.

My time back at Titan was very hard. Being 20-years-old with a world of pressure on your back, something until you've been there you can't understand, it just didn't work out the way it should have. I always told the truth and never lied about anything. Ask yourselves why I was the only one to get a job at Titan Sports when many others were coming out. Answer. Because everyone who knows this business knew that I was telling the truth.

My brother Lee did have my ear when I was working for Titan in 1992 and it made it very hard to concentrate on my job. I love my brother but my association with him definitely didn't help me being back with Titan Sports.

I am and always will be a wrestling fan. The wrestling business didn't do me wrong. Just some people who were in it, like Terry Garvin. I do hope this man realized before he died all the lives he badly affected and all the dreams he ruined, especially mine.

I know Linda McMahon tried to help me and I truly believe she is a good person. She has a son my age and tried to do right by me but at that time I didn't trust anybody.

Thomas Cole

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- Three careers are ending or in danger of ending this week. Dave doesn't seem to have a lot of detail on them, so he just lumps all 3 into one big story. First and biggest, Jim Duggan has been diagnosed with cancer and will have one of his kidneys removed this week. Dave notes that several athletes have returned from losing a kidney and still excelled at their career, but given Duggan's age and the inherent risks involved with wrestling as opposed to other sports, Dave thinks this could be a career-ender. In the other case, Ultimo Dragon suffered an infection and other complications from elbow surgery recently that was only supposed to keep him out for a month, but now it's looking more like 6 months and doctors have told him he might never fully recover, so his career is in danger also. And finally, legendary Japanese wrestler The Great Kabuki wrestled his retirement match this week in a tag match with Terry Funk and Doug Gilbert in IWA. Kabuki is expected to still work behind the scenes with IWA.

- Antonio Inoki is forming his own fake promotion called UFO which is still basically an NJPW project. The idea is to build up UFO as a shoot-fight promotion built around Naoya Ogawa and eventually lead to a promotion vs. promotion battle with New Japan. Inoki held a press conference this week to announce the debut show for UFO and interestingly enough, they went so far as to get UFO its own TV deal. Furthermore, it's even on a competing TV network from the one NJPW airs on. The rules are basically similar to UFC or Vale Tudo although many, if not all of the matches will be worked. The idea with getting them their own TV show and network is to build credibility for the eventual NJPW feud (this turns into all sorts of clusterfuckery in the coming year or so).

- WWC's heavily-hyped 25th anniversary show drew around 13,000 people which is the biggest crowd they've had in years. Carlos Colon won the Universal title for like the 23rd time but then lost it the next night at a much smaller show. Must be nice to be the booker.

- Both EMLL and AAA are kicking themselves because they both booked big shows on 9/18. Problem is, the Julio César Chavez vs. Oscar De La Hoya boxing match is happening that night and Chavez is basically a national hero in Mexico. So those 2 wrestling shows happening the same time as the boxing match aren't likely to draw very well since basically everyone in Mexico will be staying home to watch the big fight (De La Hoya won. They shoulda just gone to watch some wrasslin' instead).

- Jesus, I'm already at the ECW section. This must have been the slowest week in wrestling history.

- ECW Injury Report: Bill Alfonso has a broken forearm and has to get pins put in it. Axl Rotten was hospitalized with liver inflammation and had gallbladder surgery and will be out for a month or so. Shane Douglas' sinuses exploded again and he was hospitalized. Paul Heyman scratched his cornea in his sleep when he accidentally rubbed his eyes somehow and had to have some sort of laser surgery on it and is wearing an eye-patch for a few days. Arrr matey. And Bam Bam Bigelow, suffering from dizzy spells due to concussions, collapsed while getting out of his car and broke his wrist. And as mentioned last week, Mike Awesome broke his ankle in Japan but is expected to work next month's ECW PPV if possible.

- The idea of doing one of Atsushi Onita's exploding ring matches in ECW this year has been postponed until spring, if it even ends up happening at all (nope).

- Unless things change, Ric Flair is still scheduled to return next week on Nitro in Greenville. As of press time, neither Flair nor WCW have dropped their lawsuits against each other. Flair is still trying to get a judge to rule his contract voided so he can at least negotiate with WWF, although the odds of him going there aren't as good as one would think after both Undertaker and Triple H made comments about him being too old, which reportedly upset Flair. Eric Bischoff was on a radio show this week and had this to say about the situation: "He (Mike Mooneyham of the Charleston Post-Courier and Wrestling Observer Hotline in response to an article about the situation favorable to Flair) doesn't know the whole story. He doesn't know the fact that Ric Flair had agreed, that any time that Ric Flair ever wanted any time off that request would come in writing so that we would have the opportunity to schedule his time off accordingly. His agents are being deposed next week and will testify to that. Ric Flair took time off that he never asked for, that he wasn't scheduled for, and put WCW in a bind. I had to make a decision. I had to draw a line and say, OK, am I going to let Ric Flair get away with this so that other 130 people that I have under contract realize that any time they don't want to show up for a show they can just basically stick it to WCW and no-show or do I draw a line and make people realize that there's policies, there's procedures, there's agreements, and this is a business and we have to act professionally and responsibly, and I drew the line on Ric Flair because Ric Flair, in my opinion and according to his agreement and the agreement that we had with his agents, acted unprofessionally and irresponsibly and I had to draw the line and it's unfortunate because Ric is, was, is, a big-name talent and he's a guy that could have continued to contribute, but unfortunately, we're just not seeing eye to eye with regard to that subject." For what it's worth, Ric Flair disputes this and claims he asked for the time off months before and that it had been approved. (Knowing how much of a disorganized mess WCW was and how the left hand never knew what the right hand was doing, I think I have to side with Flair here. My guess is he probably *did* get the time off approved by somebody, but then that somebody neglected to pass the word on and Bischoff was never told until it was too late. Speaking of disorganized....)

- Nitro is basically being written these days by Eric Bischoff, former child actor Jason Hervey (Bischoff's longtime friend), Hulk Hogan, and Kevin Nash. Anyway, it's all still so disorganized that things are frequently changing backstage as the show is going on live. Dave gives an example, talking about how Kevin Nash and Sting were supposed to team up in the main event, but midway through the show, they changed it to Luger & Sting and simply had Nash interfere.

- Arn Anderson has physically improved to the point that he badly wants to wrestle again but Dave seems to hope he doesn't because it's not worth the risk. That being said, Anderson is still getting by far some of the biggest reactions on the shows lately simply by cutting promos.

- Konnan, Disco Inferno, and Juventud Guerrera were all banged up last week when they unknowingly took bumps on the part of the ring that had a trap door set up for Warrior to disappear and reappear in the ring during the show. Konnan is scheduled for an MRI this week but everyone else is still working (interesting to hear, since a week after this, British Bulldog suffers a near career-ending back injury because he bumped on that same trapdoor and it reportedly led him into a pain pill addiction).

- Scott Steiner has 5 compressed discs in his back and it's unknown if he'll ever be able to make a full recovery. Expect his Fall Brawl match with Rick Steiner to be kept short.

- There's been talk of bringing Stevie Richards back to WCW, but Terry Taylor was the one pushing for it. But now that he's been basically pushed out of his booking position by Hogan, Nash, and Bischoff, that's not as likely to happen anymore. Same thing goes for Meng, who was beginning to get a big push a couple of months ago because Taylor and Kevin Sullivan liked him. But with them mostly out of the picture, his push is probably done.

- Just to show how big wrestling is at the moment, the St. Louis Cardinals, which is the hottest thing going in sports right now due to Mark McGwire chasing the single-season home run record, played the Atlanta Braves on TBS. The game drew the Braves' highest rating of the season: 2.6, which is about half of what Nitro and Raw do on any given Monday. McGwire hit his 55th home run during the game.

- Jason Hervey's mom runs a production company and is working on developing a movie for Sting to star in. Dave wonders why wrestlers who can't even act within the context of pro wrestling are getting acting gigs while the actual good actors in wrestling never seem to.

- Chris Benoit is still out injured but was told to fly into Nitro anyway because they still wanted him to appear. So he packed his bags and flew out there, only to find out they decided at the last minute not to put him on the show after all. As you can expect, he was pretty pissed.

- Sports writer Frank Deford did an interview on NPR talking about mainstream athletes doing wrestling. Unlike most people in the sports world, Deford had no problem with guys like Rodman and Malone doing it and didn't believe they were demeaning themselves by doing it. He also talked about Dave during the interview and called the Observer Newsletter "a publication that is as authoritative about wrestling as the New England Journal of Medicine is about disease." (Yeah, Frank Deford, arguably the greatest sports journalist of all time, repeatedly praised Dave over the years. Here's an article from the New York Times in 2013 where Deford gives him even more props).


- The movie that was being filmed about Bret Hart last year is called Wrestling With Shadows and will be released on video soon and air on TV as well. Dave has already seen a rough cut of the movie and says it's the most honest movie ever made about the wrestling industry but he will wait until it's properly released before he writes about it in detail.

- Bret Hart will also appear in an upcoming episode of the "Honey I Shrunk The Kids" TV show (Bret and Owen both appear in it).

- Dave takes a moment to throw some praise at DDP. While he's not a great worker and he's been massively over-pushed because of his friendship with Bischoff, Dave also admits that DDP has worked his ass off to earn the position he was given. While other wrestlers go get drunk in their hotel rooms after shows, DDP is always out doing promotional interviews and making charity appearances and working to get himself and the company over as much as possible. He was given the ball and hasn't dropped it and in fact, has run further with it than anyone could have predicted and he deserves all the success he's having lately.

- Early buyrate info for WWF's Summerslam is somewhere over 500,000 buys which would be a huge success. That's about the same as WCW did with the Rodman/Malone PPV and way ahead of the Road Wild PPV with Jay Leno. Also, after Summerslam, they did a thing where WWF merch was being sold on the Home Shopping Network after the PPV ended. They ended up doing around $250,000 in merch sales in about an hour with almost 10,000 callers calling in (here's a clip from the HSN with WWF guys. I'm not sure if it's the one from after Summerslam or not. But either way, it's hilarious, with Rock being classic Rock and with the New Age Outlaws DRUNK AS FUCK).

- WWF has produced a limited quantity of "Austin Rules, Goldberg Sucks" shirts that will be for sale at some mall stores (indeed they did: https://cdn.sportsmemorabilia.com/sports...6-1600.jpg)

- Steve Austin gave Regis Philbin a stunner on the Regis & Kathy Lee show last week.

- Speaking of Austin, there was a spot early in his Summerslam match with Undertaker where they seemed to smack heads against each other. Austin suffered a dislocated jaw and bit off a chunk of his tongue when it happened (yeah, Austin got knocked loopy from that spot).

- Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle has signed a multi-year WWF contract. And was never heard from again.

- Faarooq missed some shows recently because his brother was murdered. Jeez, I never heard that story before.

- LOD Animal had arthroscopic knee surgery and will be out for a few weeks. On TV, they claimed that Hawk is in rehab (to play into his current angle) and when Animal is ready to return, they may put the 2 of them back together in some sort of "conquered his demons, triumphant return" type angle (or he'll try to commit suicide from the Titan Tron, but whatever). Anyway, Hawk really is in poor shape not just because of his real-life drug troubles. He's got a lot of health issues with his liver and due to Hepatitis C (the sheer fact that he was allowed to wrestle in WWF when they knew he had Hep-C shows just how different things were back then compared to now. That's an instant career-ender these days).

- Sable will play a women in an all-women's prison on an upcoming episode of Pacific Blue (this shit is basically softcore porn for basic cable haha).

- Jerry Lawler and Lance Russell will play themselves in the Jim Carrey movie Man On the Moon based on the life of Andy Kaufman. Jimmy Hart was originally supposed to be in it, but since Lawler is in it, WCW threw a fit and won't allow Hart to do the movie.

- For those interested, the primary writing team for Raw is Vince McMahon, Vince Russo, and Ed Ferrara. Dave mentions that Ferrara used to write for the show Duckman. Anyway, there's also a much larger circle of about a dozen people who regularly submit ideas that are often used as well but those are the primary three. And of course, nothing makes it to TV without final approval from McMahon.

- Still no word on Shawn Michaels returning to the ring. He's lost quite a bit of weight and the idea is maybe later this year or early next year. They've tossed some storyline ideas around regarding him and DX but nothing set in stone.

- Vince McMahon did an AOL chat recently and hinted that the WWF would be returning to network TV soon. In reality, there's nothing much to that yet, although given the strong cable ratings, they'll probably do something again on network TV eventually. Fox has expressed interest in getting into the wrestling biz and is actually looking at starting their own promotion.
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- Ric Flair returned to WCW on Nitro this week and it was a moment that will never be forgotten. The huge initial pop was one thing, but the deafening roar from the crowd simply wouldn't stop long after Flair was already in the ring. It was a moment that no one in wrestling, not even Antonio Inoki or El Santo, has ever come close to experiencing. Dave compares it to when a dying Lou Gehrig returned to Yankee Stadium and spoke about being the luckiest man alive. Flair was literally moved to tears by the reaction. It almost didn't happen, as there were some last minute-hiccups in negotiations and as of Saturday, Flair had backed out. But by Sunday, it was back on and Dave recaps the segment and basically calls it one of the best and most emotional moments in wrestling history. Yup. Dave also does the ratings analysis for both shows. Nitro beat Raw this week, which was expected since so many people knew Flair was returning, plus Raw had been pre-empted the last 2 weeks, so they had to make up some ground. Both shows threw everything they had at the wall, with several heel and face turns on Raw and with Nitro being built around Flair's return.

- Dave does a long, in-depth review of the Wrestling With Shadows documentary. He says it's the most accurate and honest wrestling film ever produced. It basically covers the timeline of events from Bret Hart re-signing with WWF up until the Screwjob. Dave basically recaps the whole movie but notes that most of this was also covered in the Oct. 17, 1997 issue of the Observer in exhaustive detail and the documentary pretty much just confirms everything Dave wrote there. In fact, simply due to time restraints of a film, there's a lot of things that are cut out. For instance, it talks about the Sept. 22 meeting where McMahon told Bret they couldn't afford his contract, but there were multiple meetings prior to that where McMahon had tried to restructure the contract that the movie doesn't address. Dave thinks Bret's wife Julie was the real heroic figure of the movie, raising 4 kids on her own, berates Triple H after the screwjob, and seems to be the only one who sees through Vince McMahon's bullshit at every turn long before the screwjob.

- Almost as interesting as the movie itself are the circumstances around it. The initial plan was to just film a documentary about Bret because he's a famous Canadian with a unique story. When Bret re-signed in 1996, the production company signed an agreement with WWF allowing them access to any WWF footage they needed as well as to follow Bret around backstage at all WWF events. The only rules were that neither Austin or Undertaker could be shown backstage or out of character. At the time they agreed, WWF expected it to be a positive documentary on one of their top stars. Dave says the amount of footage from backstage in Montreal is amazing, including private conversations between Vince and Bret, because Bret was wired up with mics all day. By Canadian law, as long as one member of the conversation knows its being taped, it's not illegal, which is why they were able to use the conversation in the film. McMahon reportedly only learned about the existence of the recording of his conversation with Bret last week when he was sent a copy of the film. There's also footage of Vince going into Bret's locker room and then coming out limping and wobbly after Bret punched him. The filmmakers reportedly have a lot of footage of other wrestlers backstage that night in Montreal who were furious over what happened to Bret, but they chose not to include it in the documentary because many of those people still work there and they didn't want to endanger anyone's jobs (I would kill to see some of the cutting room floor footage from that movie). And one final note: despite their contract, WWF initially refused to cooperate with the movie after Bret left and it almost went to court because they wouldn't provide the footage they agreed to give. But a few months later, WCW expressed interest in purchasing the rights to the movie, with plans to air it on PPV and later on TBS or TNT. At this point, WWF agreed to provide footage and sign the necessary release forms, in exchange for the producers not selling the rights to WCW or Turner (this becomes a big story on its own a few months later).

- Lots of wrestlers getting arrested this week. Starting with the most serious, ECW star Taz was arrested in Pittsburgh on charges of indecent exposure and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. It's alleged that Taz went to a tanning salon and asked the 15-year-old girl working as a receptionist to come back into the room and rub oil on him and then he asked to rub some on her. He then asked her to take her shirt off and she did and then he exposed himself to her. Soon after he left, she called the police and they issued a warrant for his arrest because it was believed he would be leaving town after that night's ECW show, so they arrested him and held him over the weekend. Those in ECW who know Taz are said to be in disbelief because he has a reputation of actually being one of the good guys in the locker room who doesn't womanize and he generally stays away from all that stuff.

- The Giant was arrested in Nassau on 3rd degree assault charges from an incident back in June the last time they were there, where he allegedly punched and broke the jaw of a guy at their hotel. The incident was actually covered in the Observer back then, with some big 6'5 guy who was apparently trying to start shit with the wrestlers. First he tried with Kevin Nash who just walked away. Then he went to provoke Giant and, well, it didn't work out in his favor. But by the time it was reported, he was already out of town, so they arrested him this week when WCW returned to the city.

- Jim Neidhart was arrested for writing a bad check for $174.20 in Florida back in 1996. He was actually found passed out in his car at 4am and when the cops ran a check on him, they found the outstanding warrant and arrested him.

- Matt Osborne was also arrested on an outstanding warrant from 1995 for vandalism, harassment, criminal mischief, public drunkenness, trespassing and disorderly conduct. Osborne was wrestling as Doink on the indies around this time and Dave doesn't really know the situation around the charges.

- WCW Fall Brawl is in the books and Dave says it's gotta be near the top of the list of worst PPVs of all time. There was a good Raven vs. Saturn match and a funny Jericho/fake-Goldberg match but beyond that, it was hot garbage. And even the Jericho thing ended up being a bad idea because the real Goldberg never appeared on the show, thus leaving the fans pissed that they never got to see him. The War Games main event was up there with the Triple-decker cage from Uncensored 96 as far as worst PPV main events ever go. Ernest Miller vs. Norman Smiley gets -1 star. Rick Steiner vs. Scott Steiner also gets -1 star. Silver King challenged for the cruiserweight title and it's obvious the guy is too big to be considered a cruiserweight, but if you're Mexican in WCW, that's where they lump you, so there he was. Konnan vs. Scott Hall gets a DUD rating. And finally, the War Games main event gets -4 stars and Dave just shits all over the match. Here you go, enjoy, you masochists.

- We get an obituary for a Japanese wrestler named Toyonobori who was apparently one of the top stars in the 1960s during the time period between the death of Rikidozan and the rise of Giant Baba. Dave recaps his career and man, someone should really write an in-depth book on the history of Japanese wrestling during and after Rikidozan because it's pretty damn interesting.

- There's a lot of tension in AJPW growing between Giant Baba and Mitsuharu Misawa. Lately, Misawa has been doing most of the booking and is wanting to take the company in a new direction but Baba is resisting it. But the problems aren't thought to be serious enough that it would cause a split between them or anything (Baba will be dead in 4 months and Misawa will take over the promotion afterward. Baba had cancer and literally almost nobody in the world knew about it until he died. But we'll get there).

- Dave offhandedly mentions that Atsushi Onita has developed the nickname "Mr. Liar" because he's retired and quit FMW so many times (stemming from his initial 1995 retirement), only to inevitably return, that he's gone from being one of the hottest stars in the country to being one of those veterans who's always around that no one really cares about anymore (as I'm typing this, on Oct. 30th 2017, Onita is scheduled to have ANOTHER retirement match tomorrow and he claims this one is legit. We'll see). (FEB. 7, 2018 UPDATE: so far, still retired...)

- The upcoming NBC special "Exposed! Pro Wrestling's Greatest Secrets" is scheduled to air in November. It will feature a bunch of masked wrestlers demonstrating things like blading and how to safely take bumps and all that. Many of the wrestlers involved later protested the way they were presented, saying it was edited to make wrestling look silly and easy, like anyone can do it, but that's what happens when you agree to do something like this. The editors can make it look however they want. NBC is already advertising it saying that the wrestlers will be masked and voices altered because "Many have already recievied sinister threats--if they participate in this show, they will never work in pro wrestling again." For what it's worth, Dave names most of them: several indie wrestlers from APW along with The Pitbulls formerly of ECW, and Harley Race.

- Speaing of APW, Dave attended one of their shows this week. The film crew for the Barry Blaustein documentary (tentatively titled "Hittin' The Mat") was there filming. It was also Dave's first chance to see this Christopher Daniels kid that everyone has been raving about. Dave says he seemed to be a great worker and was better than most guys already in WWF and WCW.

- Superstar Billy Graham will be getting his 7th hip surgery soon and it will take nearly a year of recovery time.

- Sandman officially signed a 3-year contract with WCW, believed to be for $200,000 per year and is expected to start in a few weeks. He's been wrestling without a contract in ECW for the last few weeks and was basically being buried in squash matches against Justin Credible because he was refusing to sign a new ECW deal. Dave is shocked that WCW would want him, since his entire gimmick is smoking, drinking, and coming out to Metallica, none of which he can do in WCW. Beyond that, he's a terrible wrestler and terrible on the mic but Heyman always protected him with careful editing. But it's believed DDP and Raven pushed to bring him in and since DDP is a good friend to have, he may be protected. But it's believed ECW owns the Sandman name and outside of ECW, he has no following so it's not like's going to be a huge star upon arrival or anything. There's some bitterness on the ECW side since Sandman apparently never informed Heyman that he was leaving for WCW and furthermore, Sandman is on the cover of the new ECW music CD that is coming out next month, which was actually finalized on the day he signed with WCW.

- Justin Credible got married this week, so Chris Candido, Tammy Sytch, and Joel Gertner all missed ECW shows to attend. Also, Scott Hall was reportedly supposed to be the best man at the wedding, but he didn't show up and apparently wasn't even in contact with Credible for weeks prior.

- Speaking of those people, Credible, Candido, and Sytch all signed 5-year contracts with ECW. Rob Van Dam has a similar offer on the table right now but hasn't signed it yet.

- Paul Heyman sent a letter to Eric Bischoff offering to buy Chris Benoit out of his contract. As you can imagine, Bischoff pretty much just tossed the letter in the trash.

- Warrior has been doing this gimmick where he basically shows up in the smoke and kidnaps people and disappears through the trap door under the ring. Dave mentions that a couple of weeks ago, while a bunch of wrestlers were under the ring, Curt Hennig took a shit under there that smelled so bad that 2 of the other wrestlers threw up. Ha!

- Dave once again does his usual trashing of how bad Nitro has become, but he does mention one newsworthy bit: the Warrior/Hogan segment was the 2nd lowest rated segment of the show this week so, just as he predicted, the big ratings boost they got from Warrior has pretty much died off after a few weeks and now he's basically worthless to the company, but he's still going to main event Halloween Havoc against Hogan anyway. Other Nitro notes: Scott Hall came out doing a drunk gimmick which is basically the same as Hawk was doing on Raw. Dave talks about Arn Anderson cutting a promo and says he was born 10 years too soon. He says if Anderson was in his wrestling prime right now and cutting promos like this, he would be another Steve Austin because he's just as good with promos and was just as good in-ring also.

- Latest rumor is that Goldberg is expected to eventually drop the WCW title to Hogan or Nash, probably Nash (boy, do they ever. We'll get there).

- The Giant is looking to get a big raise or renewed push claiming he's got a huge offer from the WWF if he decides to jump ship. It's been known for awhile that WWF is extremely interested in him.

- If you're wondering why Stevie Ray is getting such a big push lately, it's because WCW's still being sued by former wrestler Bobby Walker for racial discrimination and when the case goes to court, they want to have both Stevie Ray and Booker T in high profile positions even though only one of those two guys is anywhere near a main event talent.

- Raw Notes: they aired "a goofy vignette of Steve Regal chopping down a tree." Marlena returned showing up in bed with Val Venis in his feud with Dustin Runnels. Gangrel faced Edge and after the match, he spat blood on him and said something about the same blood flowing through them, so they may end up as a team. And newly-babyface Rock got a bigger pop than Steve Austin.

- La Parka is supposed to be out injured with a torn ACL, but he worked a show in Mexico recently, assuming WCW wouldn't find out. They did and now he's suspended.

- Another fiasco of a WCW house show in Mobile, AL with most of the advertised main stars not appearing and the crowd chanting for refunds after the show ended. The story made the papers and WCW ended up offering anyone who saves their ticket stub from the show free admission to the next show the next time they're back in Mobile.
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Courtesy of Reddit, video of Big Show punching that guy at the hotel bar in 1998:

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- The last 2 WCW PPVs were such disorganized messes that nobody, even within the company, knew what most of the matches were going to be until the day of the show and because of that, they did disappointing buyrates (Fall Brawl, with the War Games main event and Warrior's first WCW match, did the lowest buyrate of the year for WCW). WWF finds themselves in a similar situation this week, except it's due to injuries. Triple H was scheduled to defend the IC title against Mark Henry but he suffered a knee injury last week and can't work the show so the whole planned undercard has been scrapped and people are being shuffled around into new matches. So aside from the main event and the Dustin Runnels/Val Venis match, pretty much everything else may change. Triple H's knee injury is a torn meniscus and he had arthroscopic surgery a few days later so he's scheduled to be out for at least 3 more weeks. He may also have dislocated his patella, which if so would require another more extensive surgery and keep him out for several months.

- IWGP champion Masahiro Chono has vacated the title and will be getting neck surgery for a herniated disc. He's expected to be out at least 2 months. His neck injuries date back to, ironically enough, a botched piledriver from Steve Austin in 1992 that was the exact same move that injured Austin last year. It's been a nagging injury for years but has progressively gotten worse in recent months. It has been announced that Yuji Nagata will face Scott Norton at the next show for the vacant title. It's considered almost a certainty that Norton will win (yup).

- There's been talk of Great Muta coming in to WCW to challenge Goldberg for the WCW title (pretty sure that never happened).

- Ultimo Dragon held a press conference in Japan saying that he plans to sue the WCW doctors who did his botched elbow surgery.

- Bull Nakano has reportedly lost 109 pounds and is attempting to leave pro wrestling to join a Japanese women's pro golfing tour.

- The ridiculous Big Japan promotion is planning a gimmick match with a ring surrounded by crocodiles and alligators.

- This is a slow issue.

- At an ECW house show, Balls Mahoney did something pretty stupid. There was a girl in the crowd repeatedly flashing her breasts and getting pops for it, so Balls pulled her into the ring and got her to do it again. He then grabbed her breast. The big issue is that there's reports that she was only 16 years old, which legally is pretty murky territory obviously and especially a bad idea considering the recent Taz arrest. Speaking of Taz, his hearing is scheduled for this week.

- At the latest ECW show in Queens, as fans were leaving the building after it ended, Paul Heyman and Tommy Dreamer were at the exits handing out free videotapes of the last 3 ECW TV shows. The company recently lost their TV deal in the New York area and Heyman wanted the loyal ECW fans to still see the recent TV show. It cost ECW over $4000 to manufacture all the videos to give away for free.

- RVD missed some recent ECW shows because he got married.

- There was someone backstage at the last ECW show shooting photos of all the wrestlers because ECW is doing action figures.

- The latest WCW/celebrity connection is expected to be Jackie Chan, with the idea of him facing Ernest Miller at a PPV later this year, likely at World War III (nah never happened).

- Nitro this week was "atrocious" and that's being charitable, according to Dave. He recaps the horrible angle of Warrior allegedly kidnapping Disciple and doesn't know how this whole Warrior storyline can possibly get any worse (just wait a couple of weeks until Hogan looks in the mirror). Dave says Bischoff must be using Nitro as a model for his new book entitled "How to kill the biggest wrestling company in the world" and says WCW is basically self-destructing. After Nitro went off the air, the newly brainwashed Disciple attacked Hogan while fans chanted "Boring" and "Nitro sucks!" Goldberg was at the building but didn't appear on the show. Why, you ask? Well, Goldberg has been getting a lot of positive press in Jewish publications so they didn't want to risk upsetting the Jewish community by having Goldberg wrestle on Rosh Hashanah. So he never appeared, which left the crowd upset.

- There was also a scary moment on Nitro when Villano IV took a botched powerbomb and landed on his neck. The match was stopped immediately and Raven broke character and looked concerned. Villano IV was laid out in the ring for awhile as they checked on him but eventually got up and was helped to the back where he was taken to the hospital. He was released later that night and diagnosed with a sprained neck. Everyone watching it had major flashbacks to the Buff Bagwell spot.

- Sandman can't use "Enter Sandman" for his ring entrance in WCW, nor drink beer or smoke cigarettes. They also don't want him using the cane, although they may change their mind on that one since, otherwise, the guy has literally nothing else to offer. He's expected to start in a month or so, because they want him to heal up from some lingering injuries first.

- Davey Boy Smith apparently attended a recent WWF show in Calgary, which WCW was just thrilled about, as you can imagine.

- Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler both missed Raw this week because they were filming the Jim Carrey "Man on the Moon" movie. Speaking of, they apparently did some sort of publicity stunt saying Lawler injured Carrey during filming and Carrey had to go to the hospital. The media outlets picked it up and actually treated it like a legitimate story, with Carrey claiming he refused to work with Lawler anymore and threatening a lawsuit, which is exactly how Andy Kaufman played the angle 16 years ago. Obviously, this is all a work between Lawler and Carrey and Dave is flabbergasted that the media seemingly bought it hook, line and sinker.

- There was a recent article in a newspaper last week about the recent Raw episode that showed Jacqueline's breast popping out of her top by "accident." The article featured these quotes from Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff. First, Vince said, "We don't have a leg to stand on. It was a live show. We took the risk and got burned. We burned ourselves. If we did a match of this kind ever again, in all likelihood it would be on a taped show. There was no doubt that this was an accident. It was not like we were trying to pull one over on the public. We recognize our responsibility to the fans." For some reason, they asked Bischoff's thoughts on it and as you'd expect, he saw it differently, claiming WWF's actions are hurting the entire business. "If you look at the list of advertisers, it's a very small pool. What (Vince) is doing is going to further stigmatize the product in terms of entertainment value. No one is going to want to be associated (with it). He knows just like every pimp on every street corner that sex sells. What is unfortunate for the USA Network and Barry Diller is Vince McMahon using the same M.O. to attract teens and pre-teens"

- The woman they've been showing at ringside during Sable matches is former LPWA women's wrestler Terri Power (later becomes Tori). Dave says she's had so much facial surgery that she doesn't even look like the same person. Anyway, they're apparently considering an angle where she will play Sable's sister and then turn on her. They're also looking at bringing back the WWF Women's championship soon.

- Kurt Angle has been the star of the recent WWF training camps, with the trainers comparing him to Ken Shamrock in the way that he's been so quick to pick up on everything. Despite that, they don't plan to debut him any time soon because they want to give him a major push and want to make sure he's ready for it when they do.

- WWF released a statement on their website about the upcoming NBC special revealing pro wrestling secrets. They basically trashed all the masked wrestlers who will be part of it, saying they were guys who weren't good enough to make it in WWF. Dave points out that one of those guys is Harley Race, who is one of the greatest of all time, and a lot of the indie guys on the show are better in-ring workers than much of the WWF roster.

- On NPR last week, sportswriter Frank Deford quoted Dave Meltzer when talking about football ratings being down at least partly due to the popularity of pro wrestling. Sports radio host Jim Rome responded to that by trashing wrestling and even ripping into Dave also. Dave seems un-bothered by the whole thing.
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- The goofy little publicity stunt with Jerry Lawler and Jim Carrey on the set of "Man on the Moon" has taken a life of its own in the media. Carrey reportedly stayed in character as Andy Kaufman throughout filming, even while the cameras were off and allegedly spat at Lawler during one point while they weren't filming. Lawler chased him down and grabbed him in a headlock which the media reported caused Carrey to suffer a neck injury. He went to the hospital and came out wearing a neck brace, just like Andy Kaufman did for months after his original angle with Lawler. Carrey vowed he would never work with Lawler again and that all of Lawler's scenes would be cut from the movie. Neither of which is true, as they still have more scenes to film together. Because they pulled it off so well and Carrey is such a big star, the news story blew up in the media and by the next day, it was a pretty big national story. Almost all the media outlets covered it as a legit story and even Vince McMahon and Jim Ross were quoted in the USA Today defending Lawler. Dave says it was known in a few circles that Lawler and Carrey had been cooking up some sort of angle but no one knew what it would be exactly. Since it happened and now that everyone is beginning to realize it was a work, some have been trashing the media outlets for falling for it but Dave says that's simply wrestling at its best. Workers work people and sometimes they do a good enough job that everyone falls for it. Dave doesn't blame the media for taking the bait, he just seems to find it amusing. The only real story is that none of the media outlets came out in the following days to admit they had been fooled or retract the original story, which hurts the credibility of the media and makes you wonder what else they incorrectly report and then never correct. (Note from the day I wrote this back in November: There's a new Netflix documentary about the making of this movie. I wonder if it covers that stuff.) (Note from today, Feb. 12: I still haven't watched that documentary but I think it's pretty well established nowadays that Lawler wasn't in on this either and it was just Carrey being a method acting dick.)

- WWF Breakdown is in the books, which is a PPV I didn't even remember existed. Anyway, it was fine. It was basically a one-man show, with The Rock being the most popular guy in the building but otherwise, the crowd was burned out by the end of the 4-hour show (live Sunday Night Heat plus 3 hour PPV). As mentioned last week, with Triple H's injury, most of the lower card matches were rearranged so the crowd didn't care about any of it because there was no real build up for any of them. Only really notable thing was a mystery man (Christian Cage) showed up at ringside during the Edge/Owen Hart match and distracted Edge to cost him the match.

- Scott Norton became only the 3rd American ever (Hogan the first, Vader the second) to win the IWGP title after defeating Yuji Nagata to win the belt that Masa Chono had to vacate last week due to injury. Interestingly enough, Norton injured his knee in the match and no word on how bad that is yet. Despite losing, word is Nagata had a star-making performance and the crowd was super into him so they may have made a new top star out of Nagata anyway.

- Eric Bischoff was in Japan meeting with NJPW to discuss helping them promote a PPV event. In Japan, only about 600,000 homes have access to PPV (as opposed to 35 million in the U.S.) and neither NJPW or AJPW have ever attempted it but word is NJPW is interested and since Bischoff has experience with it, they brought him in to help guide them.

- Due to the economic crisis in Mexico, AAA promoter Paco Alonso had to send every foreign wrestler he's been using home. Most of them were working on guarantees and being paid in U.S. dollars, which are worth far more than pesos right now and the company simply can't afford it. So they're all gone and AAA is running with 100% Mexican wrestlers.

- Mitsuharu Misawa has pretty much taken over complete control of booking AJPW. He always had a lot of influence but now Giant Baba is said to be totally out of booking the company although he's still involved in the business end. Of course, unbeknownst to basically everybody at this time, Baba is dying of cancer. It's not even known for sure if Baba is aware yet at this point, though there's rumors he found out years before and kept it a secret.

- There was a weird death match in Japan this week. The match itself was the usual garbage match (barbed wire, beds of nails, lightbulbs, etc.) but the stipulation was that the loser of the match would have to face a live crocodile in a casket match. Anyway....it happened and the crocodile did the job (on a personal note, fuck using live animals in a wrestling match).

- Yokozuna is booked to work an indie show against King Kong Bundy in New Jersey. Since NJ deregulated wrestling a couple of years ago, it's basically the only state Yoko can wrestle in because he can't pass the physical for any other states.

- Three ECW house shows in Florida were cancelled this week due to the looming threat from Hurricane Georges.

- Dave has heard from several good sources that The Giant is either close to or has already agreed to a deal to go to WWF. He's been openly talking about wanting to go there for weeks, although it was thought he was mostly just trying to get Bischoff's attention in order to get more money and a stronger push. He reportedly still has a few months left on his WCW deal so he can't jump ship just yet but at this point, it's expected he's heading north when his contract expires. It's no secret that WWF has been interested in him from the moment they saw him debut in WCW in 1995. He's everything Vince McMahon loves in a wrestler: big.

- The Wrestling With Shadows documentary hasn't officially been released yet but several mostly-finished copies have been floating around the industry so most people have seen it by now and it's been the talk of the biz this week. Dave says he's already seen it 7 times because a lot of his friends wanted to see it so he keeps ending up watching it with them and says he keeps picking up new things every time he watches it. He says he has a lot more he wants to say about it, but will wait until it's properly released first.

- Latest on Warrior in WCW: as expected, the bloom is off the rose and ratings for his segments are just as stagnant as everything else. And this week on Nitro, he was booed out of the building and there were massive "Warrior sucks!" chants during his promo, causing him to forget what he was trying to say. Dave says everyone warned Bischoff that Warrior was only going to be good for about 2-3 weeks worth of ratings and here we are. It's no secret to everyone in WCW that Warrior is dying out there every week and there's concern that he's pulling Hogan down with him. They still have a Halloween Havoc match with him and Hogan scheduled (which still may do a decent buyrate since it's the first rematch of their famous WM6 match), but after that, Dave thinks they should just bring Goldberg out and have him spear Warrior right out of WCW and then try to forget it ever happened and move on.

- Raven, Chris Jericho, and Disco Inferno will be appearing on an episode of The Dating Game soon (ends up being Kidman instead of Raven but yeah).

- There's been some talk of adding Bret Hart to the Four Horsemen group to have him replace Steve McMichael, who is simply the worst.

- Telemundo wants to do a wrestling show with Mexican wrestlers in the U.S. and have been talking to WCW about using their guys. But the problem is, all the Mexicans are basically treated like undercard jobbers in WCW and Telemundo doesn't want to do a show where the people are stars on one show and treated like a joke on another show. So in short, WCW's piss-poor booking of the Mexican wrestlers has probably cost them the possibility of this show.

- At a house show in Baltimore, Scott Hall cut a promo before his match saying that after his show, he's having a big party at his hotel and told all the women to go to the front desk and ask for Scott Hall and "for all the fags to ask for Kevin Nash."

- The New York Times ran a big story about the declining Monday Night Football ratings (down 11% and falling since last year) and it acknowledged that the popularity of wrestling on Monday nights is one of the key reasons.

- They did a great angle on Raw with Steve Austin driving a Zamboni to the ring and attacking Vince McMahon before being dragged away by police. Yeah, I'd say this one is just a tiny bit famous.

- Other Raw notes: they did an angle where Owen Hart "accidentally" injured Dan Severn similar to the botched piledriver that hurt Austin. Severn was taken out on a stretcher while Owen looked concerned but it was an angle. Insane Clown Posse came out on Raw with the Oddities again and Dave says they're actually becoming pretty great heels. The Rock's "People's Elbow" is super over and the crowd went nuts when he did it.

- WWF is working with A&E to do a movie on the life of Andre The Giant. "Should be one entertaining work of fiction," Dave predicts. (It wasn't a movie, it was part of their Biography series. I'm sure Dave will cover it when it airs in the 1999 issues but for shits and giggles, here it is now).


- Someone who was an extra in the crowd during the filming for the Jerry Lawler/Andy Kaufman match for Man on the Moon writes in to tell what he witnessed. He says Carrey didn't take any bumps, they brought a stunt double in for the back suplex and piledriver spots and describes how many times they filmed the scenes and other neat behind-the-scenes movie stuff. He says Carrey kept provoking the fans and Lawler and was basically in character the whole time also.
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- Scott Norton became only the 3rd American ever (Hogan the first, Vader the second) to win the IWGP title after defeating Yuji Nagata to win the belt that Masa Chono had to vacate last week due to injury. Interestingly enough, Norton injured his knee in the match and no word on how bad that is yet. Despite losing, word is Nagata had a star-making performance and the crowd was super into him so they may have made a new top star out of Nagata anyway.

And in 2018, Nagata is still going strong in NJPW and holding gold in AJPW.
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[+] 3 users Like Ceallach's post
It's crazy how good Nagata still is
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Can confirm that Jim was just being a method actor cock. The documentary is pretty good. He knew what he was doing the entire time and had someone go around and film his antics. It is borderline insane but still a fascinating watch. He was very committed to sticking to the gimmick which, as a pro wrestling fan, I respect the hell out of. But having to work around that shit? Fuck him.
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[+] 1 user Likes Chris's post

- Arguably the greatest amateur wrestler to ever live has signed on to work his first professional wrestling match for RINGS in Japan. Alexander Karelin, a Russian Greco-Roman wrestler who has won 11 consecutive world championships will face Akira Maeda in February. The announcement came just 5 days before the Nobuhiko Takada vs. Rickson Gracie rematch that Pride is putting together and Dave says that's no coincidence and that RINGS was clearly trying to steal Pride's thunder with the announcement. Karelin has won Olympic gold medals in 88, 92, and 96 and is the favorite to win again in 2000. He's been undefeated since 1987. Dave says every organization in the world has tried to sign him over the years. WWF, New Japan, UFC, and even the NFL has tried to recruit him. Maeda insists the fight will be a shoot, but of course, he has to say that (this show ends up doing huge business, $1 million+ gate. It's recognized as an official MMA match although it's widely believe to have been a worked match. Probably better that way. In a shoot, Karelin would have massacred Maeda anyway).

- Last week's Monday Night Football game did the 2nd lowest rating in the 29-year history of the show and a lot of mainstream news outlets are crediting Raw and Nitro for drawing away viewers from football. Teenage boys in particular are watching wrestling rather than football so the NFL seems to be losing that whole demographic. The Los Angeles Times also reported that the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars are both selling replica JWO shirts at games (Jets World Order and Jaguar World Order respectively). Speaking of ratings, Raw won again this week but Dave notes an interesting fact. Because Nitro is 3 hours and Raw is only 2, there's some complicated math involved in getting these ratings. So while WWF has been winning the ratings battle most weeks, it's somewhat misleading because WCW may still have slightly more people watching. Point being, while WWF seems to have all the momentum right now, it's still a lot closer than the TV rating implies (not for long. WWF starts widening that gap real soon).

- At an AAA show in Mexico, Pimpinela Escarlata won the IWC heavyweight title from La Parka in front of a crowd of around 15,000 people, making him the first wrestler doing a transvestite gimmick to win a world title (I looked it up and this apparently turns into some sort of mess with the title being vacated around this time or something. I dunno, but far as I can tell, Pimpinela isn't recognized as having ever won that title).

- El Hijo del Santo is out of action with injuries. With pretty much every Mexican wrestler worth a damn already signed to WCW and not being allowed to work in Mexico anymore, del Santo is the most in-demand wrestler in the country and has been working for multiple promotions. But he had to inform all the promoters that he's not taking bookings right now because he's recovering from a laundry list of injuries.

- Masahiro Chono held a press conference talking about his neck injury, saying he's still in a lot of pain and doctors told him to stay out for at least 3 or 4 months, but he plans to try to return for the tag tournament next month anyway.

- Every indie promotion in the country is doing the heel promoter gimmick now that the Austin/McMahon thing has taken off so huge. In Power Pro Wrestling in Memphis, it's Jerry Lawler playing the Austin role against promoter Randy Hales.

- Emily Dole, who wrestled as Mt. Fuji in the original GLOW promotion, was awarded more than $1 million in a settlement against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept. stemming from an incident in 1989. Dole's sister was getting married when a huge group of deputies in riot gear stormed the wedding and began beating everyone at the party. 34 members of the family, including Dole as well as elderly people and even a pregnant woman, were beaten and arrested. Deputies initially claimed that they had been attacked by the wedding party, but the entire incident was caught on videotape and showed no evidence of that. The family sued and won a $24 million dollar settlement, which was divided among many of the victims. Even though it happened 9 years ago, the settlement just finally went through so Dole only just now got the money (sadly, she just passed away last month. There's a GLOW documentary on Netflix--not the scripted show, but a real documentary--and she seemed like just the sweetest lady).

- UFC commissioner Jeff Blatnick has formed the MMA Council and has completed an official rule book in an attempt to turn the council into an official governing body to help get MMA regulated. Dave runs down most of the major rules. (Those rules went a long way toward helping UFC get approved and regulated in the U.S. and is arguably the only reason UFC survived beyond 1998. Jeff Blatnick probably saved the sport of MMA in the U.S. by doing this.)

- Mike Awesome is reportedly getting reconstructive surgery on both knees and will be out of action for about 9 months (he was actually out for exactly 1 year. He returned to ECW and won the title in his first match back exactly a year to the day of his last ECW match).

- Chris Candido, Tammy Sytch, Justin Credible, and Rob Van Dam have reportedly all signed new 5-year deals with ECW. Spoiler: ECW won't be around in 5 years.

- On ECW TV, they did a surprisingly nice send-off for the Sandman, making a big deal about him leaving and heavily praised him until Justin Credible came out to ruin the festivities in order to get him over as a heel. But they didn't bury Sandman at all on the way out, which Dave seems surprised by since he left under pretty acrimonious circumstances.

- Steven Prazak, who works with Dave on the Observer Hotline, has been offered a job by ECW as an interviewer. He's expected to start next month.

- Scott Hall was arrested yet again this week outside of a strip club called the Diamond Mine in Orlando, FL. He was arrested for keying a limo and doing $2,000 worth of damage to the vehicle. The driver of the limo was inside as Hall was keying it up and called police. Hall was arrested and later released on bail.

- There have been rumors that Rick Rude is suffering from cancer but it's not true. He recently had a cyst removed from his testicles and spent a week or so in the hospital but no cancer.

- Latest on The Giant is that he's been telling people he's feeling like Hogan holds him down in WCW and that he's got a $1 million dollar offer on the table from WWF that he plans to take as soon as his contract is up. He then no-showed Nitro the week before and also no-showed the Saturday night tapings but finally returned this week. WWF sources have denied having any negotiations with him, for obvious legal reasons, but said they would be interested if he was available. Dave thinks Giant would need to make some personal changes because the recent no-shows aren't very professional and he's also developed a reputation in WCW for having a bit of an ego. Dave uses Shawn Michaels as an example and says that even though Shawn is injured, they were starting to use him on TV sometimes, but they've pretty much stopped that and have been keeping Shawn at home now due to his ego and the fact that nobody wants to be around him. Giant has a lot of potential, but he's no Shawn Michaels. With WWF on top of the wrestling world right now, they can afford to not put up with the headache. If they're willing to bench Shawn Michaels over his ego issues, they probably won't be too keen on bringing in the Giant if he doesn't get his attitude in check first.

- WCW referee Mark Curtis is scheduled for stomach surgery this week. He had stomach cancer earlier in the year and it's believed scar tissue from the original surgery as well as damage to his intestine from the radiation is causing him problems. He'll be out for about 6 weeks (this story gets a lot sadder in the next issue).

- If you're wondering what the creepy laughing is that pops up periodically during Nitro, it's part of some marketing cross-promotion for the new Bride of Chucky movie, although there's expected to eventually be more to it than just the laughing.

- Notes from Nitro: Eddie Guerrero gathered most of the Mexican wrestlers together, griped about being held down by Bischoff, and then gave everyone replica NWO shirts called LWO (Latino World Order) that were the color of the Mexican flag. Dave says this may be the dumbest idea ever but this is WCW so, wait a week or two and they'll probably come up with something worse. They also aired a taped Warrior interview. He was at the arena backstage, but after he got booed out of the building last week, WCW didn't want to risk putting him in front of a live crowd again so they did a taped promo instead. Oh hey, look, you didn't have to wait long for WCW to do something dumber than LWO: this is also the episode that featured Hogan seeing Warrior in the mirror when nobody else could see him. Surprisingly, Dave just sorta glosses over this without giving it the utter thrashing it deserves.

- Kevin Nash and Vince McMahon recently ran into each other at an airport. According to people who were there, Nash first bumped into Shane McMahon, who mentioned that Vince was at another gate. Nash went to Vince and found him and they talked for a few minutes and Nash reportedly told Vince, "Save me a spot" for when his WCW contract ends in 29 months.

- Wrestling With Shadows will air on A&E in the U.S. in December and about 5 weeks earlier in Canada.

- The most recent WCW Saturday Night taping was chaos backstage because most of the Mexican wrestlers, Chris Benoit, and The Giant all no-showed. The Giant no-show was already talked about. No one is exactly sure why the Mexicans no-showed but they were all scheduled to sign new 3-year contracts backstage that day and then get drug tested so...you do the math. No word why Benoit no-showed but at least he didn't kill anyone this time, so let's just let him have this one. To fill the spots, they ended up bringing in a few of the Power Plant trainees since the taping was in Georgia.

- Vader will be finishing up with WWF at the end of this month as both sides have mutually agreed to a contract release that will allow him to work anywhere other than WCW. Vader never really clicked in WWF, partly due to politics but also due to his age and the fact that he's been working injured for much of his time there. They also wanted him to lose weight because he gained a lot after he started with the company. Dave thinks he'll end up in Japan. NJPW would probably want him, but given their relationship with WCW and Bischoff's hatred of Vader, that might not work out. AJPW would use him also, but as beat up as Vader is, who knows if he could work the usual AJPW style and schedule (indeed he does. He spends basically the next year in AJPW before jumping to NOAH for the next 2 years and pretty much works full-time.)

- Ray Traylor has re-signed with WWF and will debut in a month or so as the Big Boss Man once again, probably as a heel enforcer for Vince McMahon. He's lost a lot of weight and recently recovered from back surgery.

- WWF has sold out 5 straight events at the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago, while WCW has sold out 5 straight at the United Center. Dave says Chicago is unquestionably the hottest wrestling city in America right now.

- Notes from Raw: The Headbangers faced ICP and basically beat the hell out of them. They took good bumps for non-wrestlers, but they have worked a lot of indie shows in Michigan. They aired another Man's Man vignette for Steve Regal and Dave says they're so campy that they're almost good. Throughout the show, there were recurring segments with Vince McMahon in a hospital with Mankind trying to cheer him up, which led to Austin attacking him. "This segment was awesome," Dave says. Indeed.

- WWF Injury Report: Triple H is spending 6 days a week in Birmingham doing rehab on his knee after the recent surgery he had. The surgery was somewhat experimental and there's a chance he may need full reconstructive surgery if the rehab doesn't go well, which would keep him out for months. Mark Canterbury re-injured his neck that was broken last year against the Legion of Doom and is out. Savio Vega is out for a few months with neck issues. Animal is scheduled to return from knee surgery this week. Steve Blackman is back on the road but still not fully recovered from his knee surgery.

- Playboy is planning a photo spread featuring Sable (that ends up becoming one of the biggest selling issues of Playboy ever but we'll get there).

- WWF is hoping Shawn Michaels will be able to work the Royal Rumble, hopefully leading to an angle for him to work Wrestlemania.

- Christopher Daniels will be at the next WWF training camp.

- The Rock has re-signed a long-term contract extension with WWF.

- Kurt Angle is expected to debut in early 1999 with a major push.

- Erin O'Grady, Mick Tierney, Vic Grimes, Matt Bloom and Shawn Stasiak were all signed by WWF and will be sent to Memphis to work for Power Pro as part of their developmental deal.

- Some guy writes in talking about being unhappy with how people in WWF are portrayed and worrying what kind of message it sends to kids and stuff like that and it's interesting to look back on a letter like this with 20 years of hindsight:

Quote:I don't like to see any group (blacks, whites, Germans, Japanese, gays, Arabs, Jews, etc.) take shit just to make a buck for a wrestling promoter. Wrestling can bend minds. It can just as easily bend minds in a good direction as it can in the direction of evil.

What do the WCW and WWF tell eight-year-old boys watching their television with their portrayals of women, especially with Chyna on her knees. The difference is my middle-aged buddies at work just talk. The kids are still learning and that is not good.

The Maine legislature passed a gay rights law in 1997 only to have it overturned by a vote of the people. I've studied homosexuality for some time now, particularly because I was assaulted twice in my younger years by homosexual men and because of Bill Clinton's attempt to make the Armed Forces accept gays. Based on what I've learned, at least eight percent of the world's population is gay. I suspect this has been true since the dawn of time, hence it is part of the "plan" of which God/Nature has dumped on us. All inherent qualities which come with birth are natural. There is some debate as to whether homosexuals are "born that way," but after years of observation, I'm convinced many are. I believe they have no choice. I believe nature made that choice for them.

King Ripper Collins could still tear up an arena today, just as could a Bobo Brazil coco-butt. It's probably better that both are a part of wrestling's past. Some other angles, like a goose-stepping Waldo Von Erich, are also things of the past. Unfortunately, Vince McMahon hasn't realized this with his Japanese caricatures. World War II ended 53 years ago. I don't like the Kaientai scripts and I don't like the sexually orientated material, especially when it advocates violence against women.

Bottom line through all this philosophical crap is that wrestling can follow, or lead. They typically aim at the LCD (lowest common denominator). In my work place, the people who are totally hooked on wrestling are the janitors and the kids, who then convince Mom and Dad to pay the bucks to put their little fannies in the seats.

The WWF does not offend me and I have met and like Vince McMahon and Howard Finkel. I like their sleazier entertainment and my wife enjoys the new style compared to the 1983 style. My youngest son is 19. He was mildly amused by Mr. Yamaguchi san's choppy-choppy your pee pee" line. My sister, however, whose three kids range from 9 through 13 was not amused. She said that her youngest daughter, in a $2,500 a year tuition Catholic grade school, had a friend bringing into class photos of Sable. She is believing this is how real women need to look. The WWF is teaching her that unless she has a chest like Sable, Chyna or Jacqueline and flashes it to the boys on demand, she won't attract attention from boys.

People like the WWF and a lot of people still like Bill Clinton, although the cigar thing really turned off a lot of female voters. Based on your stats, the kids will bankroll the WWF now, and later as teenagers. The McMahons have always had a knack for bringing out the "Animal House" side of people.

Michael Abbey
Fairfield, Maine

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- The issue opens up with Dave recapping the Pride 4 event which was headlined by a rematch between pro wrestler Nobuhiko Takada vs. Rickson Gracie. Of course, that went about how everyone expected, with Gracie once again defeating Takada with relative ease, although not quite as embarrassingly as before. There had been a lot of pressure on Gracie to do a worked match and lose, which would have made Takada the biggest wrestling star in Japan and would have set them up for a big-money 3rd fight next year, but Gracie steadfastly refused to do a worked fight, money be damned. From here, Dave thinks Takada's best move would be to join Antonio Inoki's UFO promotion. The real story of the show, however, was with another pro wrestler, Alexander Ostuka who has wrestled in Japan for Battlarts. In his debut for Pride, he defeated legendary Brazilian fighter Marco Ruas by corner stoppage, when Ruas simply quit between rounds because he couldn't take anymore. It wasn't as newsworthy, but Dave says this was just as big of an upset as Buster Douglas beating Mike Tyson.

- WCW referee Mark Curtis (real name Brian Hildebrand) has been diagnosed with inoperable stomach cancer after he had surgery last week that was thought to just be cleaning up scar tissue. But during the surgery, they discovered the cancer and after realizing it was inoperable, he has been given anywhere from a few months to a year to live. Hildebrand had cancer earlier this year and had radiation and chemo to treat it and it was believed to have gone away. But the surgery revealed that it had returned. Dave recaps Hildebrand's career and says that one of the biggest things about Hildebrand is that he is almost universally loved by everybody in the business. Despite the diagnosis, Hildebrand is said to be determined to return to work at WCW as a referee as soon as he can.

- Kyoko Hamaguchi, the 20-year-old daughter of Japanese pro wrestler Animal Hamaguchi, won some amateur wrestling championship. I'm only mentioning this because Dave says the plan is for her to follow in her father's footsteps and become a pro wrestler eventually, which is what he has been grooming her for. She's expected to participate in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and then turn pro and likely become the top women's wrestling star in Japan. I looked her up on Wikipedia and...it never happened. Despite being a top amateur wrestler for years, Wikipedia says that the lack of a stable women's promotion (after AJW closed) kept her from ever being able to make the jump to professional wrestling.

- Antonio Inoki was talking to the media in Japan and claimed that Muhammad Ali was the co-owner of his new UFO promotion and also said that U.S. President Bill Clinton had personally sent Inoki a letter congratulating him on starting the new company and offering his support. "Well, if you're going to lie, you might as well lie as big as possible," Dave says.

- In recent polls, Jesse Ventura is expected to get 10-20% of the vote in the upcoming Minnesota Gubernatorial election, running as a third party candidate. It's expected to be the best showing of a 3rd party candidate in decades and some feel he could end up costing the Republican candidate the race because he would siphon votes away from him. Most people in Minnesota aren't taking him as a serious candidate, but Newsweek just reported that he's up in the polls and is actually a dark horse to win the entire election. "Now that's scary. But if it came down to Jesse the Body or Antonio Inoki for public office, I'd vote Jesse," Dave says. Wonder how this is going to turn out...

- Raven was backstage at the latest ECW show but Dave says not to read anything into it. Umm, okay.

- There's a big controversy about the latest issue of the PWI 500 because they didn't rank ECW wrestler Super Nova. Dave says most people don't take the PWI 500 seriously but there's a lot of people, even wrestlers who should know better, who get butt-hurt about their placement every year. The PWI people have said this is the biggest controversy in the history of their rankings. Dave says for what it's worth, Super Nova should obviously be on any list like that, and probably in the top 200 because he's better than most of the no-names on the back-end. Then just for shits and giggles, Dave rips apart the list, talking about how most of the people in the top 10 don't even remotely deserve it ahead of other, better wrestlers.

- This week's Scott Hall drama (or as Dave calls it, "wrestling's next major tragedy waiting to happen") involves Hall's ex-wife Dana who posted a note on a wrestling website about Hall. She asked why WCW continues to use Hall as an active wrestler, despite him clearly breaking company policy repeatedly with his drug and alcohol use and arrests. She also trashed WCW for "taking every opportunity to exploit and humiliate his very real sickness as entertainment" and that the company is standing by and watching him destroy himself. She also says that she knows Hall has been under the influence and that WCW has still allowed him to wrestle when they knew he was inebriated. She also posted photos of Hall with his children and a picture of a recent mugshot from one of his many arrests. Dave agrees that the current angle WCW is doing with Hall, where he shows up "drunk" every week is pretty tasteless but that's the business. The website with all of this stuff was taken offline a few days later. (this is a really slow issue so I hunted down the letter that Dana Hall wrote.)

Quote:WCW is helping Scott Hall destroy himself - does anybody care?

WCW recently stated on the Oct. 5 Nitro show that they "did not condone Scott Hall's behavior, and that Scott Hall is a very sick man."

Although WCW states this, why are they allowing him to retain his status (which he so sorely abuses) to clearly break policies (stated as a breach of contract), and taking every opportunity to exploit and humiliate his very real sickness, as "entertainment"?

My question to them is "What are they going to do about it?"

Are they going to get him the serious help he needs?

If this is just a storyline and "not real", then how can they explain Scott's recent arrest, and the very public displays of intoxication other than in front of the camera? Although "recent" events on the show have been staged, the storyline they are portraying is in fact the terrible truth. Scott has had an ongoing addiction problem for 20 years, resulting in the destruction of his marriage and family. Is this entertainment?

Scott's stumbling around and vomiting on stage may be "fake", but what he is doing in "real" life is the same thing. Wrestling has just become "real" in the case of Scott Hall.

Scott may be "acting" out his addiction problem now on TV, but there have been many times in the past that he was truly under the influence and WCW allowed him to perform. This storyline is just a cover-up for their irresponsibilities and their failed attempts to try to rehabilitate Scott. Now they have decided to exploit his very real problem with his addiction to drugs and alcohol as a means of entertainment to the fans for profit and ratings, only to stand by and watch him destroy himself.

These stagings of a matter so serious are deplorable, disgusting and inexcusable. The wrestling industry is so twisted and sick, and clearly without conscience. It does not need to be this way. WCW has overstepped the line in this case, as far as I am concerned.

This is not entertainment. This is not funny anymore. The storyline needs to come to a conclusion. This man has two young children, who need him to get 100% well. They are being terribly affected by their fathers' behavior as well as the WCW's enabling and exploitation of it.

His children and family members (with whom he chooses to have no relationship with) do not deserve this pain and embarrassment for the public's "entertainment". Scott is obviously not rehabilitated. A 40-yr old man "keying a limo" is a definite "cry for help". Now he has added a felony to his list of on-going unacceptable, disturbing incidents. Scott has obviously lost all judgement, dignity and sense of what's right, and WCW has taken advantage of that.

This can no longer be denied or ignored.

What kind of message is this display of something so serious sending to children whether it be staged or not??? Doesn't Scott have a responsibility as a public personality and role model to behave in a decent manner? He is clearly abusing his status, intimidating and disrespecting people, breaking laws, hurting his family...and WCW is allowing this.

WCW clearly has had several reasons to fire him, but instead they made a meager attempt to try to rehabilitate him, and it quite clearly did not work, so they are just using him for as long as they can. It is inevitable that as long as Scott continues on this path, he will ultimately destroy himself. Is this what the fans want to see?

Scott needs to be urged in any way possible, by everyone, to turn his life around. He has already lost so much. It is very sad, especially to his children who need this man to be well, to be a father to them. He has lost so much already. I cannot, as the only responsible and fit parent they have, allow his children in his presence unsupervised under the circumstances. Can you imagine how hard it is for them to understand this mess and why their dad chooses to be sick, and not get well, for himself and for them? They need and deserve a "well" father - not a dad who's a wrestler. Scott will never be able to get well as long as he is a "wrestler," and exposed to all its sickness. It has fed his addiction and allowed it to grow for years, and now they are feeding off it. This is wrong any way you look at it.

I am begging everyone on behalf of his children, to help get Scott to a place where he can see this, and put himself in God's hands and find a way out of this living hell he has created for himself - a hell that the wrestling industry has greatly contributed to through the years and now chooses to exploit. This cannot be allowed to continue. My children and I have no peace in our lives as long as Scott remains sick and is enabled.

Addictions and wrestling have destroyed our marriage and our family, and are continuing to destroy my children's future, and their father - Scott Hall.

Something can, and needs to be done by the people who hold power in this situation and those who claim to be his friends - for the sake of his children.

Please speak out, as I feel in my heart it is the right thing to do.

Dana Hall.

- Nitro Notes: Dale Torborg made his WCW debut on Nitro and was terrible. The announcers talked about him being one of the best workers at the WCW Power Plant, which isn't a ringing endorsement. Dave wonders why they train guys for years at the Power Plant and almost never produce anyone worth a damn, meanwhile WWF holds training camps for a week coached by Dory Funk and Tom Prichard and they keep spitting out superstar after superstar. Dave says Judy Bagwell has gotten carried away with her new TV fame and came out looking all overly made up with a new look and she didn't do the show any favors by laughing on camera while her son was getting beat up. But that's what happens "when you let Nitro become amateur hour." He calls Scott Steiner "the human bicep." Rick Steiner cut a promo and ended up getting into a back-and-forth with the Chucky doll from the Child's Play movies and challenged the puppet to a match. It's all part of the cross-promotion for the new Chucky movie and the crowd haaaaated it.

- Barry Windham was backstage at Nitro and they wanted to use him but Bischoff decided against it because he wasn't sure if Windham was officially released from WWF. Windham brought the paperwork showing he was released, but Bischoff didn't have time to look it over before the show, so they just didn't use him. There's been talk of replacing Steve McMichael in the Horsemen with Windham, but Dave thinks Windham is yesterday's news.

- Raw Notes: Owen Hart came out under a mask in his old Blue Blazer gimmick from about 10 years ago. Dave thinks the WWF writers have lost their minds. As mentioned last week, Ray Traylor re-debuted as Big Boss Man, attacking Austin. And earlier in the show, Austin poured cement in Vince's Corvette in a good angle.

- Despite rumors that Jim Carrey would appear on Raw (in character as Andy Kaufman) to promote his Man on the Moon movie, there's apparently no real chance of it happening. Jerry Lawler has done some interviews about it and he claims that the situation between him and Carrey is not a work, although he believes Carrey was faking an injury so he would have an excuse to be wearing a neck brace in public the same way Andy Kaufman used to. Basically, Lawler says if it's a work, Carrey is the only one in on it. Lawler also said that Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn wanted him to talk about the situation on Raw, since it has become such a big media story, but the movie producers didn't want him to talk about it, so he didn't.

- Steve Austin is reportedly selling more t-shirts than any entertainer or sports figure in the world right now. Dave gives some anecdotal evidence himself, saying he was at an amusement park this weekend and saw a ton of Austin shirts, more than anything else. He also saw a lot of Michael Jordan, Steve Young, and Jerry Rice jerseys and exactly 1 NWO shirt.

- WWF is really pushing the Rock in the mainstream right now and are also trying to get him some acting gigs on USA Network shows "Silk Stalkings" and "The Net." Lol, the Rock as an actor? Pffft.

- Chyna will soon be undergoing plastic surgery to change her face, in particular to soften her jawline and give her a more feminine look.

- Lots of letters this week, mostly of people writing in wondering how WCW has managed to go off the rails so spectacularly this year. Basically, in 1997 they were the hottest promotion going and now, a year later, they're arguably the worst while WWF is busy firing on all cylinders and putting out great TV every week.
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