Wrestling Observer Newsletter Rewind Thread • 1998
#91
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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#92
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.

https://m.bpt.me/event/3220919
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2018
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#93
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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#94
8-31-1998

- 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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#95
9-7-1998

- 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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#96
9-14-1998

- 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).

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/15/sports...-real.html

- 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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#97
9-21-1998

- 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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#98
Courtesy of Reddit, video of Big Show punching that guy at the hotel bar in 1998:

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#99
9-28-1998

- 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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10-5-1998

- 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).

https://www.biography.com/video/andre-th...2074650190

- 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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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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10-12-1998

- 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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10-19-1998

- 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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10-26-1998

- Raw this week featured them re-creating a fairly unknown 1994 movie called Swimming With Sharks. It essentially consisted of Austin taking Vince McMahon hostage and spending the whole show teasing that he was going to kill him before firing a pop gun and leaving Vince to piss his pants. Throughout the show, they re-created many of the scenes from the movie. Dave thinks it was a little uncomfortable watching 13,000 people (many of them kids) enthusiastically rooting for Austin to literally murder someone but whatever. Raw dominated the ratings over Nitro yet again. Dave goes all into ratings statistics and talks about how WWF is hot right now and they're using that hot period to develop a whole new roster of young stars, whereas WCW is still living off its 1997 success and says that during their peak, aside from Goldberg and DDP, they haven't created any new stars and now they're paying dearly for it.



- The latest WWF PPV Judgement Day is in the books and was pretty much poop. Newcomer Christian won the light heavyweight title from Taka Michinoku (yes that title still exists) and Dave says the plan looks to be to put him and Edge together as a babyface team and portray them as brothers. He also says when you look at Christian's face, he looks to be in his 30s even though he's actually in his early-20s (if only they had a blue dot). X-Pac won the European title in the best match of the night, with Dave saying X-Pac might be the best worker in WWF right now and D-Lo is the most improved. The Rock doing his People's Elbow spot got the biggest pop of the entire show. The Undertaker/Kane main event ended with a non-finish, leaving the title vacant and likely leading to a tournament at Survivor Series where the Rock will probably win it.

- Vince McMahon (along with Undertaker) was featured in the cover story of this week's New York Magazine in an extensive article. The cover itself is an interesting story because they wanted Austin and McMahon but Vince wouldn't go along with doing a photoshoot with Austin considering their rivalry is the biggest thing in the business right now and he at least cares about kayfabe enough that he doesn't want the 2 of them doing magazine covers together. So then Vince offered to do the shoot with The Rock, claiming that he is soon to be the biggest star of the company. And get this; the magazine turned that down because they believed Rock was a wrestling star but not a mainstream star. Haaaaaaa! Anyway, they settled on Undertaker. In the story, they talked about the steroid trial and even interviewed Dave. In fact, Dave seems a little irked when the story (quoting him) talked about Brian Pillman's death in relation to steroids. Dave says he was adamant with the reporter that Pillman had used steroids early in his career, but stopped years ago and that steroids weren't the cause of his death, so Dave feels his words were taken out of context. They also talked about the hotel WWF bought in Vegas, with Vince saying there'd be an Undertaker themed tattoo parlor inside as well as a Sable lingerie shop. Vince says the character Steve Austin is basically playing the real life Vince McMahon. He also talked about his early life and the rise of WWF and all that. Dave points out the usual lies you get from any Vince McMahon interview, and talks about how the numbers in the story are bullshit. For instance, they claim WWF is a $500 million dollar company. Dave puts the real number at maybe $175 million and says WWF, WCW, and ECW combined don't even hit $500 million. Vince also talked about the low point of the company in 1993 or 94 and says they were close to going out of business before managing to turn it around. Dave says it makes for a nice comeback story but it's fiction. WWF wasn't doing great during those years, but they were never even remotely close to folding. All in all, a good story....and here it is in full if you wanna read it.

http://www.nancyjosales.com/wp-content/u...tling2.pdf

- Dave recaps the latest UFC PPV and talks about their plans to run shows in Brazil since they have so much trouble in the U.S. and also talks about their plans to try to get regulated by athletic commissions and how they hope to get PPV carriers in America to start carrying them again and all that fun stuff. Also talks about Randy Couture being stripped of the UFC title and signing with another promotion in Japan due to money issues.

- WWF's Mexican wrestling show will be called Super Astros and will debut next month. They don't really have any Mexicans of any name value signed up and they'll be taping it prior to other TV tapings, so unlike the original plans, it won't be tailored to the Latino crowd or running their own shows in front of Latino audiences or anything. It's just going to be a bunch of no-name Mexican guys in front of WWF fans with no storyline or reason to care about them (aka, the early days of 205 Live). Anyway, WWF officials will be meeting with EMLL promoter Paco Alonso next week to discuss using some of their guys.



- Vader has come to an agreement to start working regularly for AJPW, which is pretty big news for the promotion as it creates a lot of new potential matches. If handled correctly, Vader and Stan Hansen especially should draw big money both as opponents and as teammates, which AJPW is in desperate need of right now. WWF has also agreed to allow Bart Gunn to work some shows for AJPW since they aren't doing anything with him.

- A press conference was held in Japan to announce the retirement of women's wrestler Cutie Suzuki, who will finish up her career with a show in December (she almost stayed retired permanently, but it looks like she came back for one last match 15 years later, in 2013).

- A bomb exploded outside of Jesse Ventura's political office last week but police don't believe it was politically motivated. (That's all Dave said but I researched it and it was apparently one of those bottle bombs that you can make with a 2 liter bottle and Dran-O. Doesn't really do anything, just makes a loud boom. Found an old newspaper story saying 2 more went off at a nearby church and it mostly just seems like a high school kid prank or something. This was back in the pre-9/11 days where you could make things go boom in public as a prank without ending up in Guantanamo).

- There's been a lot of attempts to bring back the sport of roller derby, which was similar to pro wrestling in a lot of ways and was popular in the 60s and 70s. Turns out television network TNN is going to be putting together a revival of it called RollerJam. There had been negotiations with TBS and even Eric Bischoff was involved in maybe trying to make it happen. But TBS passed on it so TNN is picking it up. Dave thinks TBS probably made a mistake because if there was every a time for roller derby to make a comeback, it's now, to capitalize on wrestling's exploding popularity. They'll probably treat it much like wrestling and play it up with pyro and sex appeal and stuff like that (this ends up becoming a much bigger deal way down the road when ECW also ends up on TNN, but we'll get there).

- Jeff Jarrett's grandmother Christine suffered a massive heart attack and is in ICU. Christine Jarrett has helped promote the Jarrett family's shows for decades in the Nashville area.

- Paul Heyman wants to put the ECW tag titles on the Dudley Boyz but Sabu and RVD are the current champs and Sabu in particular is apparently making a big fuss about not wanting to drop them.

- Nicole Bass and Big Dick Dudley were backstage at Raw (Bass ends up in WWF within a few months).

- This week's Scott Hall drama: his ex-wife Dana was on a radio show in Orlando saying that she might write a book about the business and that 99% of wrestlers are using drugs. Then Jim Duggan's wife called in disputing it and saying it was maybe only 10%. And then, as if it wasn't weird enough, WWF wrestler Billy Gunn called in and said none of them use drugs and his wife would kick him out if he ever did. Hall's wife responded saying almost all of the wrestlers fool around on the road, get blowjobs from ring rats, and that wrestler's wives are naive if they think their husbands aren't doing it. Dave says Dana Hall isn't the most popular person in wrestling circles right now, probably because she's telling the truth. As for Hall, his latest incident was apparently a "skirmish" with Buff Bagwell at a hotel bar. Even Hall's close friends have said he's impossible to deal with right now and they wonder why WCW hasn't sent him home. He's wrecked 3 rental cars recently, along with the multiple arrests. He's been to rehab repeatedly and it hasn't helped and he's shown up to countless WCW events in no condition to work. Dave thinks WCW continuing to use him right now despite his obvious issues (and even booking his character as someone with substance issues) is pretty unforgivable.

- Nitro notes: a "fan" jumped the barricade to challenge Ernest Miller and got taken out by security in an angle (I only mention it because that "fan" would be Chuck Palumbo making his first ever appearance). In an 8-man match featuring the Mexican wrestlers, La Parka turned heel on his team to join the LWO. The announcers were paying such close attention that they didn't even realize La Parka had turned on his team and pretty much just talked about other shit all the way through it. The show was in Minneapolis so they had the mayor of the city out there and she even got involved in an angle with Bischoff. The crowd booed her and chanted for Jesse Ventura in response. And Hulk Hogan attacked his nephew Horace Hogan and legit busted him open with a chair shot that required him to be taken to the hospital after the show. Scott Norton suffered a shoulder injury which is bad news because he's also the IWGP champion in NJPW and was scheduled to fly over this week for a title defense (he was fine).

- Despite cutting promos on him for weeks, Goldberg apparently nixed the idea of doing a feud with Chris Jericho. So Bischoff pitched the idea of a Jericho vs. Kidman feud but Jericho turned it down because he (along with Benoit, Guerrero, etc.) are trying to distance themselves from the cruiserweight division because it pigeonholes them as mid-carders. In return, Bischoff is once again heavily pushing for all those guys to sign new contracts so they won't all leave in a year.

- Villano IV ended up needing neck surgery after the injury he suffered with Raven on Nitro a couple weeks ago. They took a bone from his hip to fuse into his neck and he'll be out for about 6 months but was told he should make a full recovery.

- The idea for Raven is to do an angle where he goes on a losing streak, leading to his mother going on TV and saying he made up all those stories about his childhood. Apparently it's Raven's idea and he's been dying to do this angle for a long time. Speaking of, he doesn't seem to be too happy in WCW because when he was backstage at an ECW show last week, he was telling people he wanted to leave WCW and come back there. But Dave says Raven still has 2 years on his contract and that he honestly gets more creative control of his angles than pretty much everyone other than Hogan and DDP. He thinks maybe showing up at the ECW show and getting the rumor mill going about wanting to leave may just be an attempt to get Bischoff to push him more.

- Sandman will be allowed to use his cane in WCW and both DDP and Raven are fighting to make sure Sandman gets a real push when he debuts.

- Dave ponders how the finish for Halloween Havoc will go. He says Hogan needs to win because Warrior is totally dead as a draw and Hogan still has big money matches with Bret Hart, Nash, Goldberg, and maybe even Flair again. But getting Warrior to agree to lose isn't going to be easy.

- Goldberg and DDP have been at the Power Plant working out their match for Halloween Havoc so they're planning everything well in advance.

- Any plans to bring in Jackie Chan to do an angle with Ernest Miller have fallen apart. Won't be happening.

- Raw notes: Debra McMichael signed with WWF and debuted this week alongside Jeff Jarrett. They brought a woman out of the crowd, who was actually the Kielbasa Queen from Howard Stern, and she deep-throated a bunch of weenies during the Tiger Ali Singh segment.

- Apparently the Sable/Playboy deal has fallen apart over money. Dave says it's a big mistake by Playboy because as popular as wrestling and Sable in particular is these days, it would be a huge seller (they end up working things out and yes, it becomes a monster hit).

- Vader's release won't allow him to work with WCW until Dec. of 1999 which is when his contract would have expired. He's basically been given a conditional release allowing him to work anywhere except WCW, which is why he's joined AJPW. Also, there was apparently a clause in Vader's WWF contract requiring him to stay below 350 pounds and he had to weigh-in periodically. He barely made the last weigh-in after crash dieting to make it. Vince McMahon apparently promised him a huge push if he could get down to 320 but it never happened.

- Here's just a laundry list of short news bites: Steve Austin did a taping of the Ricki Lake show, no word when it airs. Sable is auditioning for movie roles. Her guest appearance on Pacific Blue did a big rating so expect them to try to bring her back for that. Summerslam 99 will be in Minneapolis (with governor Jesse Ventura, but no one knows that yet). They're trying to get a bunch of legit tough-guy types like Butterbean and ex-UFC guys to face Bart Gunn in Brawl For All matches.

- Someone writes in complaining about Nitro being 3 hours and that even watching in fast forward, the show is a drag. Man, I know that feeling. Dave agrees that it's no fun to watch, but so far, the ratings for the 3rd hour are still strong so business-wise, it's working and they probably shouldn't stop. When ratings start to suffer, then it will be time to go back to 2 hours.
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All that work DDP and Golberg did for their match...
[+] 1 user Likes DangPlex's post
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Right? All for naught.

Well, sorta. It gets shown on Nitro the next night for free. But still.
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For what it's worth, it turned out to be a pretty good match
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Nitro dropping the third hour was a financialndisaster though.
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11-2-1998

- WCW's Halloween Havoc is in the books and ended in a broadcast catastrophe. At least 25% of the PPV systems ended the show right as the main event (DDP vs. Goldberg) was beginning. As a result, WCW was forced to air the match for free on Nitro the next night and it ended up doing a record 7.18 rating which is the highest of all-time for a wrestling match on cable (beating the Hogan/Goldberg match from a few months ago) and led to Nitro winning the ratings battle this week (although if you don't count that match, Raw would have won). It happened because WCW had only blocked out 2 hours and 50 minutes for the PPV originally, but earlier in the day, they decided to stretch it out to around 3 and a half hours. Because of the late decision, word apparently didn't get to many of the PPV providers and they cut the feed after the 2:50 mark as originally planned. Naturally, this led to thousands of angry phone calls. Most PPV providers offered the Tuesday replay for free or partial/full refunds. In the end, WCW is going to lose a TON of money on this (likely in the 7 figures) and there's a ton of heat on Bischoff from Turner execs. But Bischoff is putting the blame on the PPV providers who apparently missed the memo that the show was going long. The PPV providers are also furious at WCW because they gave away the Goldberg/DDP match for free on Nitro, which will significantly cut into the number of people who might have ordered the replay on Tuesday. So all in all, the whole fiasco ended up getting Nitro a 1-week ratings win, but it was a total clusterfuck in every other way and will severely cut into the overall profits from the show.



- Other notes from Halloween Havoc: the heavily hyped Hogan vs. Warrior rematch from Wrestlemania 6 "may very well have been among the worst high profile wrestling matches of modern times." Warrior came out to "Warrior sucks!" chants and Dave offhandedly mentions that, by the way, Jim Hellwig here has legally changed his name to "Warrior." Anyway, Dave recaps this abortion, especially the botched fireball spot that nearly burned Hogan's hand and says it blows away the 1990 Clash of the Champions match between Sid Vicious and Night Stalker as the worst match of the last 20 years. He gives it the full monty here: NEGATIVE FIVE STARS! Anyway, what else? Most of the undercard matches were decent but forgettable. Dave shits on many of the continuity issues in WCW storylines, because god forbid a WCW angle make sense. He makes a passing comment about how amazing it is that WCW seems to be making all the same booking mistakes that eventually put Jim Crockett out of business a decade earlier. Davey Boy Smith was supposed to face Alex Wright but got pulled from the show the day of, with no explanation (not sure if Dave knows it yet but this is shortly after the crippling back injury he got from the Warrior trap door in the ring). And finally, the main event of DDP vs. Goldberg (which most people didn't even see until the next night) was a really good match but not enough to save the PPV.



- Dave got to see an advanced screening of NBC's "Exposed: Pro Wrestling's Greatest Secrets" scheduled to air next week and says it's a condescending but mostly-accurate portrayal of how a wrestling match is worked and he says a lot of fans and people in the biz aren't going to like it. It featured masked wrestlers showing how basic moves are done safely, how they protect each other, how matches are called and booked, and tricks of getting heat from crowds and how the referee is in on things and often helps keep things together. Dave names most of the guys in it (it was no secret to anyone in WWF or WCW, so he's not really exposing anyone) and also says Butch Reed and One Man Gang were supposed to be part of it but backed out at the last minute. They were all paid $2000 for participating. The show acted like they were exposing huge secrets but Dave says there's nothing here that would surprise any real wrestling fan. Dave says they got about 90% of it right and points out the stuff they got wrong (like the stupid fake grandmother bit) and says overall, it was just simplistic and wasn't anything most people didn't already at least sorta know.



- Dave recaps the latest MMA news, specifically Randy Couture losing to Enson Inoue in a fight in Japan. He talks about how UFC recently stripped Courture of the UFC title and discusses all the possibilities going forward. Ken Shamrock has expressed interest in returning to UFC but that would require Vince McMahon's permission. With Shamrock's fame and WWF's huge popularity, Shamrock challenging for the UFC title would normally be the biggest money match they could do, except the problem is PPV providers still aren't carrying UFC so it would be hard for it to make any real money, which in turn means UFC probably can't pay Shamrock what he'd want to do it. Of course, the other problem is that McMahon likes to have total control over things and Shamrock in an MMA fight would be out of Vince's control and a Shamrock loss could damage his credibility in WWF.

- So years after it happened, Dave finally acknowledges that EMLL is mostly referred to as CMLL now. Of course, he turns right back around and keeps calling it EMLL so whatever. I'm calling it CMLL from now on. Anyway, CMLL and WCW reached an agreement, which will lead to an inter-promotional feud between WCW's Mexican wrestlers going down to Arena Mexico for some major shows. La Parka, Psicosis, and Rey Mysterio have never worked Arena Mexico so it should do big numbers the first time they do. Dave talks about how there has been controversy in the past because so many of WCW's contracted wrestlers were still working shows in Mexico when they weren't supposed to. There's so many small shows in so many remote parts of the country that it's impossible to monitor whether those guys are violating their contracts unless they work the big publicized shows. So they go home to Mexico on their off-days and pick up money on the side by working small indies. Part of the deal with WCW is that CMLL president Paco Alonso will help WCW keep tabs on its wrestlers and make sure they aren't working shows without permission.

- Misawa is scheduled to face off against Kobashi in a tag match this week and Kobashi has been vowing to debut a new move he's calling the Kobashi Special (ends up being the Burning Hammer which was popularized by Kobashi and the move is usually associated with him, but it was actually invented a couple of years earlier by Kyoko Inoue).



- Vader will work 20 weeks in 1999 for AJPW. Dave thinks it's a mistake to have Vader work that busy of a schedule because his body is already pretty broken down and he's not getting any younger. He thinks it would be a better idea to bring him in as a special attraction rather than have him working full tours.

- Antonio Inoki's UFO promotion had their big debut show and it was mostly a success (6,500) people but the matches sucked. It was basically a mix of pro wrestling and worked shooting and the crowd didn't know most of the wrestlers (other than Don Frye and Naoya Ogawa) and were only there to see Inoki, who showed up with his head shaved.

- NJPW is still doing the NWO angle and they're looking at doing their own Wolfpac variation now, led by Keiji Muto. Funny enough, Eric Bischoff actually has veto power over who NJPW can allow into their version of the NWO and any new members have to be approved by him.

- There's rumors that Riki Choshu will come out of retirement for the Jan. 4th Tokyo Dome show (a year to the day after he retired) to face Naoya Ogawa (doesn't end up happening. He stayed retired a little longer but, of course, he inevitably returned. They all do.)

- At the latest Pancrase show, Minoru Suzuki lost in 45 seconds and Dave says it's sad because Suzuki was one of the founders of Pancrase but Dave thinks it's time for Suzuki to get out because he just can't hang with the current generation of stars anymore (yeah, this is the tail end of Suzuki's MMA career, he only fights a handful of times after this before giving it up for good and transitioning into a career of torturing Young Lions).

- The NWA held a 50th anniversary show in Cherry Hill, NJ and....it didn't go well. Only about 500 fans attended and reportedly Sandman and Tod Gordon, who were both working the show as part of the ECW vs. NWA feud both walked out before it started due to a disagreement with Dennis Coraluzzo (Sandman was allowed to appear at the show by WCW but wasn't booked to wrestle). There were a few other no-shows and also an incident with Abdullah The Butcher. The show was taking place at a Hilton hotel and everyone had been told in advance that this wasn't an ECW show and not to get out of control. Naturally, Abdullah ignored it and he and his opponent ended up doing a bloodbath match all through the crowd and hotel. Dave does point out that this is pretty much the only kind of match Abdullah is known for, so if he's not allowed to do it, why even book him?

- Former WCW jobber Joe Gomez appeared on one of those daytime court TV shows. Apparently he was part of a deal where a woman bid on a date with him for a muscular dystrophy charity auction. She bid $500 and won the date, but Gomez never went out with her. The judge threw out the case.

- Jesse Ventura has been getting a lot of publicity for his third party candidacy for Minnesota governor. Latest polls show him at 21% which is amazing because he hasn't spent much money at all on radio or TV advertising. He also did well in debates with the other candidates, which increased his poll numbers.

- For ECW's upcoming November to Remember PPV, Tommy Dreamer will have a mystery partner against Justin Credible and Jack Victory. On TV, they've been teasing that it might be New Jack or Raven, but it won't be (Raven, of course, is still with WCW). Heyman has been interested in bringing in Vader for it, but Vader is saying he wants to rest up until he starts with AJPW so it probably won't be him. In other news, Heyman also wanted to bring in Yokozuna to do a job to Spike Dudley (thus furthering Spike's "giant killer" gimmick) but, as always when it comes to Yoko, the Louisiana athletic commission won't clear him so that's not happening.

- Taz waived his right to a preliminary hearing for his Pittsburgh case of exposing himself to a teenage girl and requested that the case go straight to trial.

- Sabu's latest injury: he failed to catch a chair that RVD threw at him. Chipped 2 teeth, loosened some others, and had him bleeding heavily from the mouth. Naturally never missed a show.

- Various WCW notes: Steve McMichael no-showed Nitro after "having too much fun" in Vegas the night before after the PPV. Dave thinks Juventud Guerrera is by far the best worker in either WCW or WWF right now. Many of the Arizona Cardinals football players and Charles Barkley were backstage at Nitro.

- In order to get Warrior to agree to job to Hogan at the PPV, he signed a new WCW contract which will pick up when his current one expires. No word on the details, but you gotta figure it's heavily in his favor.

- There's been talk of having Dusty Rhodes doing the commentary on the new Roller Jam show that will be on TNN. Dave thinks it's a bad idea since, you know, Dusty is terrible at all things commentary.

- Word is Davey Boy Smith and Jim Neidhart are both gone from WCW. Bulldog's agent has apparently been trying to get him out of his WCW contract so he can return to WWF, but Dave would be surprised if they took him back.

- Word is Sting may be kept out of action until January after the angle at Halloween Havoc where Bret Hart beat him with a bat. He spent all of last year getting paid to not wrestle, came back, worked 10 months, and is now getting another 3 months off. "It's a great job if you can get it," Dave says.

- The New York Times ran a big story on that age-old WWF/WCW lawsuit involving Mark Madden and things he said on the WCW hotline. It's considered an important case when it comes to legally deciding what is and isn't a journalist. Courts have ruled journalists have privilege to maintain their sources but have not clearly defined exactly what a journalist is. The first court ruled that Madden was a journalist, but that was later overturned on appeal and it was determined that he is an entertainer. During the court proceedings, Madden was asked to provide names of his sources for various comments he made about Vince McMahon and the WWF. They claim that Madden uses the WCW hotline to disparage WWF. TL;DR - Madden is claiming he's a journalist and refusing to give up his sources and WWF is fighting REALLY hard for some reason to force him to name names. Anyway, this lawsuit ends up having huge implications in a couple of years.

- A newspaper ran a story about Eddie Guerrero talking about his religious beliefs. Guerrero is deeply religious and admitted that he had fallen victim to the temptations of the wrestling business himself. He also talked about his former tag partner Art Barr. Guerrero claimed the autopsy showed no drugs in Barr's system (not true, Dave says) but admitted that both Barr and himself had been heavily abusing prescription drugs and alcohol back then. Guerrero also said he's offended by the direction of the wrestling business (especially WWF) and was also offended a few weeks ago when Hulk Hogan called himself the "God" of professional wrestling.

- Let's just quote this one: "On the Time Magazine internet balloting for Man of the Century, Ric Flair is now in third place trailing Jesus Christ and Adolf Hitler. Raven is in ninth place."

- Despite being back on TV, Flair's lawsuit with WCW still isn't quite settled. He has a court hearing next month to determine whether his contract is binding or not, although even if Flair wins, it doesn't look like he would leave. He'd probably just sign a new, better WCW contract. Anyway, until that's all settled, WCW isn't producing any new Flair merchandise.

- There's going to be a world title tournament at Survivor Series, and most people expect The Rock to win the title. The feeling is that Steve Austin is so over that he doesn't need the belt to draw.

- Triple H will likely not be back in time for Survivor Series due to his knee injury, but luckily, it doesn't appear he will need reconstructive surgery, which was initially feared. Triple H is also in the midst of renegotiating his contract. He still has 1 year left.

- Various WWF notes: the storyline of Chyna being off TV due to legal reasons is actually because she's getting reconstructive facial surgery. The Rock recently signed a new 6-year contract. Gangrel signed a 3-year deal. The big bodyguard during Motley Crue's performance on Sunday Night Heat was actually Andrew Martin, who was recently signed and should be starting soon.

- The latest on everything Steve Austin: he's going to featured in People Magazine twice in their year-end issues, first as one of the breakthrough stars of 1998 and the other as one of the Sexiest Bald Men. He's also going to be handing out an award at the Billboard Music Awards and is expected to appear in an episode of Silk Stalkings in January. And he will have a featured article in this month's Rolling Stone magazine and may even be on the cover (not quite but here's the article).

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/...DxP38Tkk9U

- An Undertaker comic book is coming out in January also.

https://i.imgur.com/gpR45gY.jpg

- After Mankind's insane match at King of the Ring earlier this year, Vince McMahon reportedly told Foley that he wanted to thank him for what he did but he never wanted to see him do something like that ever again (yup, Foley has confirmed this story).
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11-9-1998

- In a major political stunner, Jesse Ventura has won the election for governor of Minnesota. He was a distant 3rd in the polls literally up until the day of the election. In most political circles in Minnesota, his candidacy was considered something of a joke but he proved to be extremely popular among young voters who felt he was a protest vote (running as a 3rd party candidate). His campaign was often controversial and colorful, and at points, Ventura advocated legalizing marijuana and prostitution. Mostly, he came off as a straight shooter as opposed to typical politicians and his charisma carried him to victory. In America, Ventura is the only major pro wrestling star to be elected to a political office of this level. In Japan, Antonio Inoki severed for 6 years in the Japanese Senate and currently Hiroshi Hase is a senator and is well respected enough that he'll likely have a long political career. But in the U.S., this is pretty unprecedented.



- For the first time in several years, it's undeniable that WCW is now trailing behind WWF. Relying on Hulk Hogan's fading star power and the failure to create new stars is finally catching up to them. WWF is winning the ratings battle most weeks. They've won the PPV buyrate for the last few months, including a random In Your House PPV doing bigger numbers than Halloween Havoc, which is one of WCW's top PPVs and featured the heavily-hyped Hogan/Warrior match. And it's almost objectively impossible to deny that Raw is simply a better show these days. Dave says once again that WCW is still riding the wave of success from 1997 but that wave is fading, while WWF is creating new waves of success. But don't count WCW out yet. Tickets went on sale for upcoming Nitros in December in 2 different stadiums and ticket sales are through the roof, even outpacing the Georgia Dome show earlier this year. But aside from those 2 shows, house show business is starting to stagnate. In WCW, most of the top stars don't work house shows and often end up no-showing even if they are booked and advertised, whereas in WWF, everyone from the world champion to the prelim guys are booked for every show.

- Speaking of the Halloween Havoc buyrate, early estimates are a 0.78 which is an absolute disaster and proves what everyone knew all along about Warrior and doesn't look good for Hogan either. In fact, every WCW PPV since July has performed below expectations, although none to this level, and Hogan main-evented all of them, which should put an end to anyone claiming Hogan is still as big of a draw as Steve Austin. In fact, WCW spending a bunch of money on big names to draw buyrates (Dennis Rodman, Karl Malone, Jay Leno, and now Warrior) have all been flops in one way or another. The Rodman/Malone PPV did a strong buyrate but was still not enough to make it worth what those two men were paid. Oh yeah, speaking of Rodman...

- Dennis Rodman filed a lawsuit against WCW this week, claiming he was defrauded in contract negotiations for the Bash at the Beach PPV. The details are scarce but basically, Rodman claims he was guaranteed a certain amount (Dave has heard $750K and $1.5M but isn't sure which is accurate) plus 50% of all revenue beyond the average $3.9 million that WCW usually draws. However, the contract Rodman signed actually said it had to be any revenue over $5 million, not $3.9. It all gets a little confusing, but TL;DR: Rodman claims WCW still owes him $550,000. Dave thinks Rodman has a lot of nerve to sue them, considering he no-showed the Georgia Dome Nitro right before the PPV and then showed up to the actual PPV so drunk that he could barely stand, much less wrestle.

- ECW's November to Remember PPV is in the books and Dave starts this review by first looking at the situation of the company. They're far too big to be considered a small-time company but they're too small to compete with WWF and WCW (Paul Heyman later said the same thing: "We were too big to be small and too small to be big."). This presents problems. They'll never have the budget to produce a product like WWF or WCW does and because of that, they'll always lose talent to those companies. But they can't survive at this level by presenting a minor league product either. They're just not in a position that they can truly compete on PPV and that was especially proven with this PPV, which Dave says has to be one of the low points in ECW history. Bad matches, bad booking, bad luck...it all just went wrong and everybody backstage knew it. Dave also talks about how they are having to pay a significant amount of money for TV exposure in New York and how ECW depends on merch sales to keep the company solvent and talks about how there are a lot of costs that are adding up. They're also planning to expand into other markets, especially Chicago in 1999, and once they have that exposure, the plan is to push RVD as the top babyface of the company. There's a lot more to this, but in short....all the stuff Dave is writing about here ends up being what ultimately puts ECW out of business. They basically outgrew themselves.

- Backstage news from the ECW PPV: just days before the show, Bam Bam Bigelow agreed to a 3-year deal with WCW and word is WCW heavily pressured Bigelow to no-show the ECW show (where he was in the main event). To his credit, Bigelow resisted and still showed up to honor his commitment but it's believed that was his last ECW match (yup). Former WWF wrestler Mabel was brought in to be the latest victim of giant killer Spike Dudley. And after plans to try to bring in Vader as Tommy Dreamer's mystery partner fell through, ECW went to the desperation well and brought in Jake Roberts. And what a mess that turned out to be. For starters, Roberts missed his flight, so ECW had to charter a flight, at a cost of several thousands of dollars, to fly Roberts in. And then he showed up, "looking like he hadn't slept since John Glenn went into orbit--the first time in 1962." He arrived at the arena literally minutes before the match and didn't even have time to change into his gear which is why he worked in street clothes. And even worse, he showed up in the dreaded "no condition to work." To make things worse, Jack Victory legit broke his leg during the match and it's being called a possible career-ender (not quite but it kept him out for nearly a year) that will require major surgery. The match fell apart due to it. Dave doesn't really talk much about it but I watched and Terry Funk cuts one of the most unhinged promos of all time at the beginning of the show. No video on YouTube, but if you have the Network, it's worth going to watch. Lance Storm vs. Jerry Lynn was the only good match, but the crowd didn't care and was only into Tammy Sytch as the referee, repeatedly getting down on her hands and knees to count in a short skirt. The main event was a mess too and it led to Taz, RVD, and Shane Douglas nearly getting into a fight backstage and Douglas eventually stormed out. Dave basically hated this show.

- Mitsuharu Misawa won a record 4th AJPW Triple Crown title by beating Kenta Kobashi in front of the largest crowd ever at Budokan Hall. As you would expect from those 2, the match is being reported as the best match of the year, but Dave hasn't seen it yet (he eventually does and gives it 5 stars and it wins the match of the year award).



- There hasn't been any wrestling news coming out of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Georges left the island a wreck. All shows were cancelled and all the foreign wrestlers left.

- WCW is sending Jerry Lynn to work with NJPW soon. Dave sarcastically asks, "Isn't NJPW lucky to have a relationship with WCW?" and then talks about how WCW keeps sending no-name lower card stars to Japan but says NJPW is the one who keeps accepting them (and in some cases, like NWO Sting, they actually make legit stars out of them).

- Guess who's doing another retirement angle again this week? Atsushi Onita announced plans to retire. But he's done so many fake "retirements" over the years that it has earned him the nickname Mr. Liar and has severely hurt his drawing power. So yeah, Dave ain't buying this bullshit (and as I write this, Nov. 8th, Onita just had his super-duper-for-real-I'm-serious-this-time-you-guys retirement match last week).

- Dave says there's basically been no real reaction to the NBC "Wrestling Exposed" show that aired last week. Both Chris Jericho and Mankind vaguely referenced it on their respective shows but nothing beyond that. Everyone pretty much just seems to be ignoring it, as they should.

- More news on the Roller Jam show that will be on TNN. Word is the network is toying with the idea of having a wrestling lead-in for the show on Friday nights, although no deal is set (that would, of course, end up with ECW on TNN next year). Dave talks about the rumors of Dusty Rhodes being the announcer but says there's a couple of other real sportscasters who are the leading candidates.

- Bruno Sammartino was recently quoted in a Pittsburgh newspaper saying that today's pro wrestling is "an X-rated obscene sleaze show."

- Paul Heyman had talked to Vader about bringing him in as Tommy Dreamer's mystery partner for the PPV, but Vader turned it down because Stan Hansen told him it would be a bad idea politically since he's about to start with AJPW. They did agree to the possibility of Vader making some ECW appearances in the future so it's still possible he may end up there some day (never happened). Heyman also met with MMA star Frank Shamrock to talk about bringing him in, but they haven't reached any sort of deal.

- Notes from Nitro: 6 weeks ago after Flair returned, the Horsemen were the hottest act in the company, but WCW has done pretty much nothing with them since and they've lost all their steam. Scott Hall had one of the best matches of his WCW career against Booker T. The Giant is getting noticeably fatter by the week.

- Various WCW comings and goings: Jim Neidhart has definitely been released. Not sure of the status of Davey Boy Smith but he walked out at the Nitro tapings 2 weeks ago and hasn't been back since. Vince McMahon has said he has no interest in negotiating with him while he's still under WCW contract. Even if he gets free of that, the odds aren't great that WWF will bring him back. And Steve McMichael, as mentioned last week, no-showed last week's Nitro and also missed a few house shows afterward, but was back this week. Everyone in WCW likes McMichael personally, but everybody recognizes that he shouldn't be in the spot he's in considering how bad he is at, ya know, wrestling. Speaking of, McMichael is refusing to sign a new contract unless he is given a guarantee that he won't be removed from the Horsemen group.

- It's still looking likely that The Giant is heading to WWF when his WCW deal is up and there's a lot of rumors that a couple of others may join him (no names given).

- Eric Bischoff is still trying to pressure some of the midcard guys to sign new contracts, most notably Jericho, Guerrero, and Benoit. They have all been given roles on the show and they're not being de-pushed but Bischoff has made it clear that he won't push them beyond where they are unless they re-sign. Sort of the same situation for Rey Mysterio also. Juventud Guerrera re-signed a 3-year deal for somewhere in the $200,000 per year range.

- Sting has been removed from all bookings and is being given time off until January to sell the injuries from Halloween Havoc. Apparently the big reason is he's having some sort of personal family issues at home and wanted time off to work on them. Dave says it's basically the same family issues that happen to nearly all wrestlers who spend so much time away from home (Sting has talked about this before and became a born-again Christian during this time after confessing to his wife about adultery and substance abuse issues so that's what this was).

- Some of the Nitro Girls are going to be on an upcoming episode of The Dating Game.

http://www.wrestlecrap.com/inductions/in...atinggame/

- Bischoff is talking about creating another version of the Four Horsemen to feud with the current version. He's talked to Barry Windham, Tully Blanchard, and Ole Anderson for it, with possibly Bam Bam Bigelow as the fourth member.

- WCW tried to get Yokozuna to do a run-in during the Kevin Nash vs. Scott Hall match and offered him $10,000 to do it, but he turned them down. Even Scott Hall called him up and tried to convince him to do it but for whatever reason, he just wasn't interested in making an easy ten grand.

- TNT is apparently considering doing a show called WCW Nitro Extra to air on Tuesday nights, at least temporarily. It's a time slot that was originally scheduled for NBA games but due to the NBA lockout, they're looking for stuff to fill those time slots.

- When Randy Savage returns next year, expect him to have a new look and gimmick (yup).

- Right now the big plan seems to be for Kevin Nash to win the World War 3 battle royal and then go on to face Goldberg at Starrcade and end the streak. "Aside from pacifying Nash, can anyone come up with one logical reason why that makes sense?" Dave asks. True dat.

- It appears Vince McMahon's wife Linda will probably make her TV debut soon to get involved with the angle involving Vince and Shane.

- A few weeks ago, Undertaker had a meeting with the entire locker room and basically scolded them to keep their drug use from being so public because he remembers what it did to the company back in the early 90s. Dave talks about how steroids are clearly making a comeback in WWF, but the real problem is prescription drugs.

- Notes from Raw: Steve Regal was awful in his match. Dave doesn't know what the deal was, but it was an embarrassment to watch (yeah Regal was deep into his own drug issues at this point). Vince gave Mankind a gift of the old WWF title belt all beaten up with "Hardcore" written on it (and thus that title was born). Dave recaps the rest of it and he enjoyed the show and it was exciting but you have to turn your brain off for a lot of it to make sense, and Dave points out gaping plot holes in most of the storylines. But at least it was exciting which is more than Nitro has going for it these days.

- Undertaker will be on an upcoming episode of Poltergeist The Legacy on the Sci-Fi channel in March.



- At a WWF house show in Tampa, radio DJ Bubba The Love Sponge did a run-in and gave Gerald Brisco a big splash. Bubba has also done some stuff with WCW in the past.

- Desmond Devlin (who I googled and is actually a comedy writer for Mad Magazine) writes in a long letter full of jokes. Let's just read it, shall we?

Quote:Technically, did Eric Bischoff's talk show last longer than Chevy Chase's?

Why does Alex Wright treat Gene Okerlund so poorly? Shouldn't he have warm feelings for a German skinhead?

Did Jeff Jarrett get the idea for his guitar smashing gimmick from the lead guitarist of the Who? It must be, because every time Jarrett walks into an arena, thousands of fans say to each other, "Who?"

Why was there such excitement over which top movie star would appear on Nitro when all-time cinematic legends like Terry "Santa with Muscles" Hogan, Roddy "Hell Comes to Frogtown" Piper, Kevin "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze" Nash and Marcus "Return to Savage Beach" Bagwell are there taking a rare break from Tinseltown each and every week?

Does "3:16" refer to the ratio between Sable's original breasts and her current ones?

How much chrome and fiberglass damage would be caused if Scott Hall scraped his house keys along the finish on the Nitro Girls?

Speaking of Hall, when you say that his rating is +1.52, is that the Neilsen ratings, or his blood alcohol content?

How many rooms are there in the mansion that's owned by the guy who sells Spanish announcers' tables to the WWF?

Did an enraged Jerry Lawler attack Jim Carrey for cheap publicity, or because he was still irate about coughing up $8 of his own money to see "The Cable Guy?"

Does Sgt. Slaughter spot Tony Schiavone sneaking up on the outside, and worry about losing his prestigious "hugest chin in wrestling" crown?

Does Meng want to form the TWO...except that as the sole Tongan in WCW, he'd be the only guy in the clique?

Where can I buy a "Best of Larry Zbyszko turning around the waving at the fans" compilation tape?

Did you notice that the windows of Mr. McMahon's Corvette held up longer against the pressure of a cement mixer than Jacqueline's top does against Sable?

When will the Leprechaun wrestler sue WCW for its biased refusal to push Irish wrestlers?

Is it true that Rick Rude had a malignant lump attached to him until recently? I mean, besides Curt Hennig.

For the millions of us suffering out here, when will the WWF finally provide badly-needed closure to the Marc Mero-Butterbean feud?

If we all break down and simply concede that, yes Konnan and the Wolfpac are in fact bouty bouty, will he shut the hell up already?

Does it bother Faarooq that he's less popular than Mr. Socko?

When will Ding Dong #2 become eligible for the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame?

Contractually, how many decades notice must WCW give Scott Steiner before administering a steroid test?

Now that they have Reid Fliehr with his Moe haircut, and Goldberg slapping his face like Curly, when will WCW get a Larry lookalike to complete the Stooge trifecta?

Does the single most thankless job in wrestling belong to the poor guy who has to run the WCW tape machine, "in case the match ends during the commercial?"

Desmond Devlin
Jackson Heights, New York


- And finally, someone else writes in about Jesse Ventura's run for governor and Dave responds. It's pretty interesting to get Dave's personal thoughts on Ventura as a person and politician so, fuck it, let's copy and paste again. I especially find the parts about him "always looking for the con" interesting because it kind of explains why Ventura is basically an outlandish conspiracy theorist nowadays:

Quote:In a recent newsletter, you treated as laughable Jesse Ventura's candidacy for Minnesota Governor and made it sound as if Minnesotans had gone crazy if they gave him 10 to 20 percent of the vote or more, as is predicted.

I can assure you that most Minnesotans are quite sane and that Jesse Ventura is not laughable. He may not be the most sophisticated political thinker, but he is a straight shooter, can more than hold his own in a debate and can give thoughtful and original answers to political questions. He is a fiscal conservative but is very tolerant on social issues.

Our other two choices are a doctrinaire Republican, and a deeply entrenched DFLer from a well-known political family dynasty. That Ventura was a pro wrestler both helps and hinders his campaign, but I'm voting for him. Get used to it.

Mark Maire
Duluth, Minnesota

DM: I have no knowledge of the other candidates but have had dealings with Ventura over the years, both positive and negative and enough to give me a good idea of him. He has a phenomenal delivery and a good wit dating from his days as one of the premier talkers in pro wrestling, and I expected he'd come off very well in a political debate format. Intelligent people who have spent time with him tend to see through the surface of him very quickly and in that environment the politicians he has to interface with will see through him immediately and have no respect for him. He shoots from the hip and has an incredibly high opinion of himself which is neither good nor bad. But he's not a deep thinker and doesn't think things out before he speaks or reaches conclusions. Because of his background in Hollywood and wrestling, he has a tendency to be suspicious of things, but he also assumes things are cons that aren't and thinks every single thing in the world is politically motivated, i.e. he's like a lot of people who have spent their lives in pro wrestling, looking for the con game when often there is no game. That quality has two sides to it because people like that aren't easily duped by some things, but in not being easily duped, they sometimes dupe themselves. He really doesn't care about making enemies, even if they are powerful ones, and I admire that quality in him because it was very unique in pro wrestling when he was part of the industry, but it's also not a good quality for a Governor. He has a hard time with people who disagree with his viewpoint and that's going to work against him, and with people who criticize him, and as Governor, he's in for constant criticism and people waiting to eat him alive if he should falter, and with his inexperience in politics at this level, he's going to make beginners mistakes. When he gets into a fight, he fights to win even if the odds in front of him look to be against him like in this election, and in starting out as a pro wrestler and actually making himself a viable radio personality and political candidate, which is a good quality for a person and a Governor. But, just as an example, in his job as a wrestling announcer, he was very content to let his great delivery and wit carry him and not care about changing and updating in an always changing industry. He was the color commentator everyone patterned themselves after in the 80s, but a few years later, he was already woefully outdated and blamed others for his problems generally caused by a lack of keeping up to date in an industry that was paying him an incredible amount of money for relatively little work. He isn't alone in this industry or industry in general among people who have "made it" on that score, but again, that's not a positive quality for a Governor. I'm not suggesting that because at the end he was poor at his job as a wrestling announcer after one time being the best, that has anything to do with being Governor. But those qualities that led to that happening are also qualities that wouldn't make me very confident of him being anything effective in that role unless the position is to play a very charismatic figurehead.

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That was Jerry Flynn wcw sent to njpw. The guy with the dark mullet, stretch pants, and a karate gimmick
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Yeah, like 10 people on reddit corrected me on that haha
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11-16-1998

- There's never been a time in history where pro wrestling has been the subject of so much mainstream attention in the U.S. than right now. As if the huge popularity of WWF and WCW wasn't enough, Jesse Ventura's shocking victory to become governor of Minnesota was front page news throughout the country. Ventura has been everywhere this week, including an appearance on Meet The Press where he took some shots at Hillary Clinton after she called his campaign a "sideshow." CNN did a 1-hour feature on him. The Today Show interviewed Vince McMahon about him, which Vince didn't seem thrilled about (probably since Ventura wiped the floor with WWF a few years ago in a lawsuit). But within days, everybody in the business got on board with it and began trying to attach themselves to Ventura in some way, "none more pathetically than Hulk Hogan." It's known that Hogan and Ventura have hated each other for years and yet this week, Hogan has been kissing Ventura's ass in the media while Ventura has responded by delightfully trashing Hogan at every opportunity. And if that wasn't enough, Hogan continued the pandering by making his own fake announcement that he's running for President, all in an attempt to get some of this Jesse Ventura media coverage to rub off on him (more on that later). On Raw, Vince McMahon went so far as to invite Ventura to the show next week, because even with all the bad blood there, WWF wants some of that mainstream publicity also.

- Interestingly enough, Ventura's win is the biggest win in a major election by a 3rd party candidate in recent times and has a lot of people talking about him as a potential Presidential candidate in 2000, but Ventura has already stopped that story by saying he intends to serve his full 4-year term as governor and doesn't plan to run for President in 2 years. Anyway, Dave does a long in-depth bio on Ventura's life and career and it's super interesting. The guy's had a hell of a life. Dave gives his own thoughts on Ventura, saying he's a guy who had more balls than basically anyone else in wrestling and always refused to back down if he felt he was in the right, no matter how it damaged his career, and never kissed anyone's ass. But he also says Ventura is thin-skinned and doesn't take criticism well and he's going to have to learn to get over that if he's going to be in politics (boy, doesn't that sound familiar). Dave also says he's like a lot of old-time wrestlers, who thinks everything is a con or a work, which isn't a good look. Also, for what it's worth, Dave talks about how Jesse Ventura's campaign commercials were hugely popular.




- Dave talks about all the mainstream stories about wrestling that are coming in the next few weeks. Spin Magazine, People Magazine, Rolling Stone, Forbes, Maxim, Time, Playboy, and more are all working on major wrestling stories and some of those magazines will likely have Steve Austin on the covers. Also lots of stories in major newspapers coming up. Plus a wrestling documentary on The Learning Channel, the Andre The Giant documentary on A&E, Wrestling With Shadows debuting in the U.S., and more. Basically, wrestling is everywhere right now.

- Speaking of, the Spin Magazine story is already out and is interesting. It talked a lot about the business and advertising side, especially with WWF's more crude product, with Eric Bischoff of course trashing WWF for selling sex to kids. McMahon and Austin also were quoted talking about Goldberg as an Austin rip-off, with Austin saying, "If Goldberg's not trying to copy me, I'd hate to see what would happen if he did." Dave of course argues that aside from the bald head and black trunks, the 2 guys couldn't be any more different but whatever. (Looks like Spin recently republished this article, so enjoy):

https://www.spin.com/featured/goldberg-s...-wwf-1998/

- Lots of possible new wrestling shows on the horizon. TNT has ordered WCW to tape a 4th hour after Nitro, which they will air on Tuesdays. It will be called Nitro Extra and as mentioned last week, it's being used to fill time that was originally scheduled for NBA games prior to the strike. Fox Sports is looking into starting their own wrestling promotion, but Dave thinks it would be a bad idea unless they are willing to lose a bunch of money for the first several years. TNN is also talking about starting its own wrestling show as a lead in for the Roller Derby show premiering next year.

- Dave reports the death of Sky Low Low, "without question the most famous midget pro wrestler who ever lived." He was 70 and died after a lengthy illness. Dave recaps his life and career.

- Raw beat Nitro in the ratings this week by the largest margin ever, with over a million more homes watching Raw. It was even crazier because Hogan was on Nitro this week (he wasn't last week) and the company got a lot of mainstream publicity from the recent deal where Hogan announced he was running for President (again, more on that later). In fact, despite using an endless stream of celebrities and getting near-constant mainstream publicity for the last several months, WCW's ratings and PPV buyrates continue to plummet. To make it worse, Raw beat Nitro during every quarter-hour segment of the show and, furthermore, they also beat them in every demographic (men, women, children, teenagers, old people. You name it, Raw won it). Dave breaks down the numbers and says the answer is really pretty simple. When it comes down to it, for most of 1998, Raw has been awesome and Nitro has sucked and the ratings are starting to reflect it.

- Dave finally saw the Misawa vs. Kobashi match that was mentioned last week and says it was the best AJPW match of the year and gives it the full 5 stars. It's also worth noting that even though AJPW business has been down lately, this match was a huge success in every way. It drew the biggest crowd ever for wrestling to Budokan Hall and also did a monster 7.4 TV rating. Dave also notes that Giant Baba and Misawa are basically splitting the booking right now, with Baba booking the Triple Crown title scene and Misawa booking everything else. And Misawa actually didn't want to win the title yet, wanting to let Kobashi run with it for awhile before challenging him next year. But with business down, Baba wanted the belt on Misawa ASAP so that's why it happened. I posted the match in the last issue but screw it, here it is again.



- Villano IV suffered a scary neck injury several weeks ago in a Nitro match with Raven. He tried to come back a week later and work a match but it was way too soon and the injury was worse than he thought. Turned out he needed surgery. So he had the surgery and now it looks like he'll be out for at least 8 more months.

- Lots of speculation about NJPW's upcoming Tokyo Dome show on Jan. 4th. Antonio Inoki's new UFO promotion has a show coming up in December and tickets are pretty much not selling at all. So Inoki is pushing the idea of starting the planned NJPW vs. UFO inter-promotional feud now. But others in NJPW want to wait and let it build slowly rather than rush into it. Of course, it's hard to say if this UFO gimmick will even survive that long, which is why Inoki is hoping to start it immediately at the Jan. 4th show. Also, Atsushi Onita made a big challenge to face anyone in AJPW or NJPW and there's talk that they may bring in Onita for the Tokyo Dome show. NJPW also hoped to bring in Goldberg for the show, but WCW has a huge Nitro scheduled the same night, in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, so there's absolutely no chance of NJPW getting any big WCW names that date, especially not Goldberg.

- The latest on Yokozuna turning down the WCW offer to do a run-in at Halloween Havoc is because word is he still has hopes of getting back in the WWF and knew it wouldn't be good if he showed up in WCW. For what it's worth, WWF has said they will bring him back if he can get down to around 400 pounds and get cleared by the athletic commissions but word is he's nowhere near 400 pounds so that probably won't be happening.

- Dave randomly talks about the origins of the power bomb, noting that it was pretty much invented by Lou Thesz, a version in which he drops the person down on their neck and shoulders and pins them that way. He famously used it to pin Rikidozan in a legendary match in the 1950s. The more modern version was basically invented by Terry Gordy when he was part of the Freebirds and later picked up by every big man wrestler afterwards.

- New WWF signees Erin O'Grady, Vic Grimes, Matt Bloom (using the name Baldo) and Shawn Stasiak all debuted on TV for Power Pro Wrestling in Memphis. They've been sent there to train for awhile before debuting on WWF TV.

- Superstar Billy Graham will have his 7th hip replacement surgery this week.

- Dave congratulates football writer Alex Marvez on publishing a new book called "Wild Ride" about the Denver Broncos. Marvez dedicated the book to several people, one of whom was Dave and he says it meant a lot to him and talks about how he knew Marvez when he was a teenager writing for his high school newspaper (Marvez has written for several major sports outlets and apparently has a sports show on SiriusXM now).

- ECW is in preliminary discussions with someone regarding getting national exposure for the promotion but no details yet. They're also looking at paying for a late-night time slot on Fox Sports Net affiliates around the country, especially in New York.

- ECW Injury Report: Jack Victory will be out of action for at least a year due to the broken leg he suffered at November To Remember and will likely require several surgeries. Mike Awesome out until next year after knee surgery. Jerry Lynn out with back injury. Sabu working with a back injury. Lance Storm working with a shoulder injury.

- On Nitro, Hogan came out (dressed basically exactly like Jesse Ventura) and announced that he was running for president and began "kissing Ventura's ass well past the point of nausea. Hogan is setting a record time from being the biggest money player in the game to becoming a pathetic old man right before our eyes." Tell us how you really feel, Dave. They were planning for Hogan to announce Ted Turner as his running mate, but Turner wisely wanted no part in this angle so the plan is to announce it next week. "He's got seven more days to find a celebrity dumb enough to let their name go up in flames in a bad angle." Dave also wonders if Hogan is the first presidential candidate to ever be given government immunity against prosecution to testify in a federal trial.

- The did another angle on Nitro with Goldberg taking out Jericho after Jericho talked a bunch of shit about him. Dave says the problem with this feud is that even though Jericho has been super entertaining in it, Goldberg doesn't want to work with Jericho for some reason, apparently only seeing him as a cruiserweight and he also doesn't like how Jericho is working the angle. So none of this seems to be leading to a match.

- WWF recently made an effort to buy the distribution rights to Wrestling With Shadows. I'm sure you can imagine why. Anyway, didn't happen.

- A Rey Mysterio vs. Juventud Guerrera match was supposed to happen on Nitro a couple of weeks ago but it didn't happen because Guerrera got injured before the match in the dumbest way possible. He was backstage warming up by jumping up and down and when he jumped up at one point, he hit his head on an exposed pipe and knocked himself loopy so they scrapped the match at the last minute.

- Referee Nick Patrick will be out because he needs knee surgery after injuring his knee during the Hogan/Warrior Halloween Havoc match.

- There were talks of WCW and Telemundo doing a deal for a Lucha Libre show, but Telemundo pulled out of the talks and is no longer interested. The problem was they didn't want to do a show built around all these Mexican guys as the top stars, while on Nitro, WCW continues to push them as basically jobbers. And since WCW evidently has no plans on ever changing that, Telemundo backed out.

- The plan is still for Nash, Luger, or Hogan to win the World War 3 battle royal (most likely Nash) and then win the title from Goldberg at Starrcade. Dave once again says that taking the belt off Goldberg right now would be nuts since he's doing big business as champion and no one else in WCW is as big of a draw as him right now. Dave points out that he really hasn't had a serious long-term storyline since he won the title and he's still been playing second fiddle to Hogan, which has wrecked a lot of Goldberg's star power. He says they really need to run with Goldberg on top seriously for awhile before they even consider taking the title off him.

- The Giant makes an appearance in the new movie The Waterboy, which was the #1 movie in the country this week.



- Public Enemy and Ultimo Dragon have both been released by WCW. Word is Public Enemy has already contacted ECW about returning and Dave figures they'll be back soon to feud with the Dudleys. As for Dragon, he's on disability insurance right now from his injury and botched surgery and if/when he's healed, WCW would definitely hire him back. But right now, he's collecting more on the insurance than his WCW paycheck anyway.

- Personal Peezy Side-Note: if you're not reading Dave's weekly bashing of Nitro and Thunder in the 1998 Observers, why do you hate fun so much? If you're a fan of snarky Dave Meltzer, you find it in spades every week when he's trashing how bad WCW is getting during this time. That being said...

- Dave decides to look at some WCW numbers. A lot of people accuse the company of overpaying its wrestlers, but the total payroll for WCW is $36 million. In 1998, the company is expected to gross between $175-$200 million. If you compare that percentage to other mainstream sports, the wrestlers are actually underpaid compared to what those athletes make. Dave also breaks out some more math to show why Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone weren't worth what they were paid. Bash at the Beach grossed $7 million for WCW, but once you subtract Rodman and Malone's pay, the PPV actually grossed less than most WWF shows.

- There's apparently some issues between WWF and Steve Austin over a movie deal. There is an upcoming movie called Universal Soldier II starring Jean Claude Van Dam. Producers for the movie approached WWF about having Steve Austin in the movie and offered $55,000. WWF turned down the offer, saying it was too low, without ever consulting Austin. As a result, the producers went to WCW next and got Bill Goldberg for the movie. When Austin heard about it, he was told Goldberg was paid $250,000 for the movie. Pissed off thinking he missed out on an easy 250K payday, Austin went to Vince McMahon who informed him they only offered $55,000 and he also put the blame on WWF's licensing department for not informing Austin. Eventually, Vince sent Austin a letter of apology for how the whole thing was handled and it seemed to smooth everything over. No word on if the $250K for Goldberg is actually true. Austin was also upset when he recently learned that New York Magazine wanted him on the cover (along with Vince), but but Vince refused and tried to give the cover to The Rock instead (which NY Mag turned down, feeling he wasn't a big enough star). Also, The Rock was recently given a promotional deal with Walmart that was originally scheduled for Austin. In unrelated news, Dave mentions that Austin has some input over his creative storylines and talks about how he recently turned down an idea for Survivor Series, where Shane McMahon be the referee for his match, only to turn heel and cost him the title (he must not have had too much creative control because whether he turned it down or not, that's exactly what ends up happening).

- At the latest Raw taping, there was a Steven Regal vs, Golga match. It was a total mess, especially when Regal hit Golga and his mask flew off. Everyone stood around not knowing what to do and then the crowd began chanting "Earthquake!" at him until he ran and hid under the ring until someone could bring him his mask. Naturally, the match won't be airing since it was a taped Raw.

- Insane Clown Posse has quit WWF. Apparently they were working for free and were promised a commercial during Raw for their new album, but they didn't get it, so they quit. "Huge loss, huh?" Dave says.

- Kurt Angle continues to impress people at the training camps he's been doing and they have high hopes for him when he starts next year.

- Teddy Hart was fired this week. He had a developmental deal but just couldn't stay out of trouble during the training camps, showing up late and starting shit with people, so they finally decided to just cut their losses.

- On the WWF hotline, Jim Ross talked about Wrestling With Shadows and called it "amateurish." Dave disagrees, naturally. But of course, WWF is in full-out assault mode against this movie since it's debuting on A&E soon.

- Despite still being advertised to face the Rock at Survivor Series, word is Triple H still isn't going to be ready and won't be wrestling because of his knee injury, so they'll have to find some way out of that.

- WWF is looking at running a show next year in the Georgia Dome, mostly just to stick it to WCW.

- Steve Austin is apparently booked to film an episode of La Femme Nikia (don't think this one ever happened)
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This week's official back issue is pretty great. It has a section where Dave talks about Brock and Shelton in OVW where Brock did the Shooting Star Press and then Shelton followed it up with a 450. Dave is way more impressed with Shelton than Brock, scoffing at JR calling him can't miss, lol.

But my favorite part is the random rant where Dave accuses Vince of manipulating the 2000 election and blames him for Bush getting elected and the Florida fiasco LOL
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Oh my. Can't wait.
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I'm gonna extend this thread again
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Because videos are slowing down page loading
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So let's get to page 5
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