Wrestling Observer Newsletter Rewind Thread • 2001
Here's the 1991 thread
Here's the 1992 thread
Here's the 1993 thread
Here's the 1994 thread
Here's the 1995 thread
Here's the 1996 thread
Here's the 1997 thread
Here's the 1998 thread
Here's the 1999 thread
Here's the 2000 thread

Alright! After 2+ months off and moving to a new city and finding a new job, I finally found time to finish all this shit. The final year of the Observer Rewinds, enjoy! Also, figured I'd drop it on KBC a day early because I was preparing it to post tomorrow and accidentally hit the Post button and didn't feel like re-doing it again in the morning. So here ya go!

- Dave opens the first issue of 2001 with a look back at the top wrestlers of 2000. The Observer award votes are still being tabulated and whatnot but Dave decides to look at the top candidates and give his thoughts.


- Kurt Angle had a star-making year. One of the best talkers in the business and already one of the best in-ring guys after only really one full year. Dave says if he continues to improve at this rate in 2001, barring injuries, he may be the best in the world by this time next year (yup).

- Chris Benoit is probably the best in-ring guy in wrestling today and his jump from WCW to WWF (along with the other 3) pretty much tore the heart out of WCW and they've never recovered. Benoit was going to be a main eventer and likely multiple-time world champion in WCW, headlining PPVs and TV, and who knows what may have been different if he had stayed. They almost certainly would have still self-destructed, but at least the matches would have been better.

- Triple H is the likely Wrestler of the Year winner and Dave wouldn't argue it. He spent 2000 as one of the top guys (alongside Rock) in WWF and had numerous MOTY-quality matches, was a top draw for PPV, tickets, ratings, everything. Held the title repeatedly. An incredible feud with Kurt Angle that unfortunately fizzled out but was great while it lasted, etc. Hard to argue that Triple H had the best 2000 out of anyone in wrestling.

- Toshiaki Kawada. Without him, AJPW ceases to exist in 2000. His star power and that alone is the only thing keeping that promotion alive and the feud with NJPW has put Kawada in a position of having dream matches that will sell out the Tokyo Dome. His match with Kensuke Sasaki was one of the biggest matches in the history of Japanese wrestling. And in ring, he's a Benoit-level worker. You could argue that other wrestlers were better this year, but nobody was more valuable to their promotion than Kawada was to AJPW.

- Mitsuharu Misawa didn't really have the kind of amazing in-ring year that he's been known for in the past. But the importance of the NOAH split from AJPW is hard to overstate and was likely the biggest business story in wrestling all year in Japan (worldwide, Dave thinks the slow death of WCW is a bigger story in the long-term). If this award was for most influential wrestler outside the ring, Misawa would get it due to the successful start of NOAH.

- The Rock should probably be the favorite. He's not the in-ring talent that Triple H has, but he's still pretty damn great and has had some classic matches this year. He was the top draw for WWF by far and kept the company afloat with Austin out injured for most of the year. Plus, his sheer celebrity and mainstream value to the company is huge.

- Kazushi Sakuraba is a controversial pick and there's been a lot of debate over whether he qualifies, since he's MMA and not pro wrestling. Dave argues the case to why he should be eligible but it's hard to make a fair comparison to wrestling. But Sakuraba's historical legacy in MMA was cemented this year when he started beating members of the Gracie family one-by-one in PRIDE. Speaking of......


- Kazushi Sakuraba added another Gracie head to his mantle last week, defeating Ryan Gracie at PRIDE 12. It was controversial because Gracie came into the fight with a shoulder injury suffered in training a few days earlier and doctors had told him not to fight. Gracie agreed to still do the fight but only if it was limited to a 10 minute time limit, which fans didn't find out about until the day of the show and booed the shit out of it. There may have been an agreement made before the match because though Gracie's injury was well-known (Gracie cut a promo about it before the fight, about how their family is tough and they don't listen to doctors and yada yada. Basically, giving themselves an out if/when Gracie inevitably lost), Sakuraba never went after it in the fight. But he dominated the match and won by decision after the 10 minute time limit. He has now beaten Royler, Royce, Renzo, and Ryan in the span of the last 13 months (and that's why they call him the "Gracie Killer").

- The next major story is a recap of the recent RINGS show, and then a brief note that TV ratings aren't available and then....that's it for the top front page stories. We're already halfway through the bulk of the issue and there's not much on actual wrestling at all so far. Just a bunch of MMA recaps. Let's see what the second half brings us...

- RVD will likely be appearing at the AJPW Tokyo Dome show in late January. No word if he'll work a match but he's at least hoping to be there for the Stan Hansen retirement ceremony, since Hansen helped him a lot in his earlier years when Van Dam worked for AJPW.

- The biggest show in Pro Wrestling NOAH history took place last week, selling out a 12,000 arena. Shinya Hashimoto debuted, pinning Takao Omori. Kenta Kobashi beat Jun Akiyama in a match many are calling the best of the year. Hashimoto is expected to work a few more shows for NOAH but he isn't signed.

- A couple of rookies in NOAH are getting a lot of praise. Takashi Sugiura is already being compared to Kurt Angle, because he's a former amateur wrestler who is making a good transition. And the other is Kenta Kobayashi (later KENTA and then Hideo Itami), who will actually main event a show next month, teaming with Kobashi (the names are SO similar) against Misawa and Marufuji.

- Dave saw NJPW's latest show (which aired on PPV in Japan) featuring an interpromotional match against with AJPW's Masa Fuchi and Kawada against NJPW's Takashi Iizuka and Yuji Nagata and he gives it the full 5 stars. Which is funny because on most lists you find online, this match isn't listed. Most people thought NJPW didn't get a single 5-star match between 1997 and 2012 but in a throwaway paragraph reviewing this show, he calls it a definite 5-stars and potential MOTY. So there ya go: the lost 5-star classic.


- Antonio Inoki will have a 5-minute "exhibition match" at his New Year's Eve show (Dave is seemingly unaware at this point that Inoki's opponent will end up being Renzo Gracie.

- Legendary wrestler Johnny Valentine is on death's door. Back in August, he broke his back falling off his front porch, which nearly killed him. In September he nearly died from a lung infection. He's been in and out of comas throughout that time and now he's back in the hospital again for the same reason (he ends up hanging on until April).

- Dave saw the latest TV taping from the UPW indie promotion in California. WWF sent the Hardyz and Lita to work the show. Juventud Guerrera, Christopher Daniels, and Michael Modest were on it as well. WWF developmental wrestler Nathan Jones recently started there. Of all the guys working for UPW, Prototype (real name John Cena) shows the most promise. He's got an incredible look and superstar charisma, but he's not that good in the ring yet. Dave hopes he won't be rushed to the big leagues too soon because he will be exposed and it's hard to overcome the rep as a bad wrestler. Lots of people have been comparing Cena to a young Sting. Either way, Dave thinks the guy has a ton of potential to be a star if they don't fuck it up.

- RVD seems to have accepted the idea that he's not going back to ECW and has said at some point in the next few months, he'll decide whether he's going to WWF or WCW. His agent has had talks with both companies. WWF is interested but they're more interested in Jerry Lynn because apparently the wrestlers in WWF who have worked with both of them prefer Lynn (RVD kinda had a reputation for accidentally hurting people). WCW is interested but can't do anything because there's a hiring freeze right now. RVD is probably the most marketable free agent on the market right now but there's still no guarantees of anything for him right now.

- Randy Savage will appear in the Spider-Man movie as villain "Saw Bones McGraw" (close enough, Dave). They're filming scenes with him and Spider-Man in a cage match.


- ECW held a show at the ECW Arena that was said to be somewhat of a weird show. The crowd was down from usual, only about 1000 people, rather than the usual over-packed crowd. Everyone on the roster were given checks post-dated for the following Tuesday, which now leaves them 6 weeks behind on pay. But there's no more shows scheduled until the PPV next week. Super Crazy returned, even though his father died the night before. And during the main event, Sandman tried to recreate the famous chair incident from a few years ago, asking fans to throw chairs in the ring, which many thought was pretty negligent considering how dangerous that is for all the fans at ringside. Justin Credible caught a chair in the head that he wasn't prepared for and several fights broke out in the crowd during the incident also, due to fans getting hit by other fans. Then security ended up attacking fans and it was a whole mess for awhile there. (And that, folks, was the very last ECW show ever at the ECW Arena. Pour one out for the end of an era.)

- Notes from the latest ECW Hardcore TV: neither the Dudleyz match or the Tazz promo from the tapings aired. Dave assumes WWF wouldn't allow it. Joey Styles talked about Mikey Whipwreck having 17 documented concussions which Dave thinks is pretty scary. That's basically it.

- Notes from Nitro: Kevin Nash, DDP, and Sid Vicious all returned and none of them were punished for walking out last week, nor was Scott Steiner punished for his off-script promo. Nor were he or DDP punished for their backstage fight. Eric Bischoff flew out the day before and basically sat down with everybody to hash out their problems. He gave everyone the impression that he'll be taking over the company in 2001 and is trying to start things with a clean slate. Needless to say, there was a lot of resentment from the undercard wrestlers about top stars being able to just walk out of live TV tapings, shoot on the mic, and get into fights and not only go unpunished, but be put right back on TV the next week in their same top positions. Lex Luger walked out earlier this year and came back in a stronger position than when he left. Buff Bagwell has been in and out of trouble all year, is hated by much of the locker room, but still gets significant TV time in the uppercard. Meanwhile, guys like Lance Storm and Mike Awesome are out there every night busting their asses (with Awesome fighting to overcome the career killing 70s guy gimmick) and they're barely a focal point of the show. Some in management wanted to punish everyone who walked out, but with Bischoff expected to take control any day now, they were afraid to because it's no secret that DDP and Bischoff are close friends, as are Bischoff and Nash. So it was believed any punishment levied against them would just be overturned by Bischoff anyway. Anyway, this is the Nitro that isn't airing in the U.S. but was still taped for international markets. Not much in the way of storyline progression, mostly just matches.

- Former wrestler Tom Zenk was on a radio show discussing the potential WCW sale to Bischoff, calling it "a fire sale to the arsonist" and saying Time Warner is selling the company because it's not profitable, to the guy who made it unprofitable to begin with.

- Remember an incident earlier this year where Bagwell punched a ring crew member and got charged for it? Bagwell plea bargained out of it and was ordered to pay a $500 fine, one year of probation, and perform 20 hours of community service. At the time, Bagwell was suspended for 30 days over it, which cost him approx. $45,000 in pay. A rare example of WCW actually punishing someone.

- WCW sent a few guys (David Flair, Mark Jindrak, Sean O'Hair, and Jung Dragons) to work the NWA Wildside show, which is their developmental territory. Speaking of, wrestlers Air Paris and AJ Styles have been stealing the shows at the Wildside events.

- Road Dogg was sent home from the Smackdown tapings and was suspended indefinitely without pay. At this time, there's no plans to bring him back. He showed up in bad shape to the tapings and had a match teaming with K-Kwik against Lo Down that was said to be an embarrassment because of his performance. WWF wants him to get his life in order before they even consider bringing him back. He's gone through rehab a couple of times but it never took. Dave says the difference between WWF and WCW is that chances are, you're not going to see Triple H and X-Pac going on TV for the next few weeks doing Road Dogg's catchphrases and trying to go into business for themselves on his behalf, unlike *some* people. (Here's the match. I dunno, doesn't seem any worse than Road Dogg's usual bad matches. But you do hear the commentary talking about Road Dogg looking out of it and hinting that maybe he has a concussion. And you can definitely tell that he's a little off his game, but if you didn't know to specifically look for it, I doubt you'd really notice. He was never Ric Flair in the ring to begin with.)


- Notes from Raw: they had a hardcore match with Blackman, Holly, and Raven that ended up outside in the 9 degree winter weather. Dave feels sorry for those guys out there in tights and no shirt wrestling in that. The RTC cut a promo talking about how bad the internet is. (I went on the Network and watched this and it's great. Bull Buchanan cuts a promo on the APA's "Always Pounding Ass" shirt and then Goodfather finished it off with this quote: "The internet has become a harbinger of nothing more than filth and decay. The world wide web is there to trap you until it slowly strangles all the goodness from each and every one of you!" Well, he's not wrong.)

- WWF officially sold the hotel and casino they bought in Las Vegas a few years ago. The original plan was to remodel the hotel as a WWF theme hotel, with a TV studio and small arena so they could hold live shows. But they quickly realized that it just wasn't feasible and have spent the last two years trying to sell it. They finally unloaded it for $11.2 million which is about $2 million more than they paid for it in 1999, so at least there's that.

- There's been talk of bringing Bobby Heenan in to do commentary on one of the B or C-level shows, but that discussion seemed to go nowhere. Larry Zbyszko will also be getting an announcing audition soon and has pitched himself to be the new WWF on-screen commissioner as well.

- The Rock was supposed to be doing announcing for the Orange Bowl Parade but WWF pulled him out of it. The company is being extremely protective of Rock right now and want to make sure he looks good in any non-wrestling mainstream thing he does, and there was concern about him doing commentary on a parade since, I mean, wtf does Rock know about parades? They didn't want him to look out of his depth or put in a situation he wouldn't be good at.

- Update on WWF possibly moving out of Titan Towers: right now, many of the employees are doubled up in offices right now because they've outgrown the building and are out of space.

- Davey Boy Smith had another hearing for allegedly making death threats towards Bruce Hart. He pleaded not guilty. Bruce's estranged wife Andrea is now living with Davey Boy. His previous charges stemming from threats against Diana Hart Smith and Ellie Neidhart were dropped. Smith now says he's been clean since July, that he wants to open a wrestling school, and that he's no longer in the WWF. In a Calgary Sun story, Smith said, "I was involved in that (Hart) family for 20 years and I'm sad to say it was the worst 20 years I ever had." That led Bret Hart to speak out to defend his family name, and he said, "If it wasn't for my family and the opportunities my father gave him, Davey would still be working in the Wigan mines. He's talking about a dysfunctional family at the same time he has taken off with my brother Bruce's wife--you're right in the thick of it, buddy." (It's amazing how much of the Hart family drama played out in the Calgary Sun over the years.)

- The Chyna issue of Playboy reportedly sold more than a million copies, while the first Sable issue did around 800,000. Dave expects a lot more WWF women in Playboy considering those kinds of numbers.

[+] 1 user Likes Peezy's post
Damn that was an eventful issue...or at least a lot of things took place that would shape the business today.
[Image: WmfNhHX.png]
Hey fun!
[Image: 4mWpL7U.png]
It actually felt like a pretty slow and boring issue to me, I dunno.

Just very topical as Cena and HHH are winding down their careers, AJ Styles is bigger than ever, Chyna was put in the HoF, Road Dogg went from mandatory rehab into running their 2nd biggest show and basically being an executive, Titan Towers is moving, Benoit sure did have an impact on the business...
[Image: WmfNhHX.png]
[+] 2 users Like Chris's post

- Paul Heyman revealed this week that he's in serious negotiations to sell either a majority share or possibly all of ECW. He said that he's recognized the company can't survive the way things are right now. A few weeks ago, Heyman had talked about scaling ECW back down to a regional promotion but due to the rising costs of syndicated TV, even that isn't feasible. Heyman said he would be willing to walk away from the business side of ECW if the right offer came along to save the company. It would have to guarantee a major cable clearance, wipe out their debt (estimated at somewhere between $4-$6.5 million), and they would have to build an infrastructure to handle promotions, PR, contracts, etc. Basically, Heyman and a couple of handpicked assistants like Tommy Dreamer and Gabe Sapolsky handle all that stuff now personally. It's still a real mom & pop operation. Anyway, with all the potential buyers Heyman has discussed this with, they all want him to stay with the company and handle the creative end, which is his greatest strength anyway. But Heyman has spent so much of his time for the last 18 months in meetings trying to secure TV deals, licensing deals, loans, etc. in order to keep ECW alive that the creative process has been hampered severely. ECW has been fortunate so far to not lose much of its talent, because neither WWF or WCW is hiring anyone at the moment. But Heyman said that if/when Bischoff takes control of WCW, he expects the first thing he'll do is target ECW's talent, which in turn would lead to WWF making offers also, just to keep Bischoff from cherry picking their best guys. "It's the era of the big boys," Heyman told Dave. "We're too big to be small-time, but we're too small to be big-time. The reality is ECW as its presently structured isn't viable." On ECW's website, they are hyping something major will happen at the upcoming Guilty As Charged PPV, but Heyman assures Dave it's just a surprise wrestler, not anything regarding the future of the company.

- Just 1 year ago, Antonio Inoki seemed like an old-timer who's time had long since passed by. His UFO promotion, based around some weird hybrid of worked shoot MMA/wrestling couldn't give away tickets and his attempt to groom his protege Naoya Ogawa in his image was floundering. Now, as 2001 begins, Inoki's booking and match-making ideas have turned PRIDE into the hottest thing in the business of wrestling or MMA. It was capped off by Inoki's Bom Ba Ye New Year's Eve spectacular, which drew a reported 42,000+ fans to see Inoki's vision of pro wrestling, with a mix of traditional pro wrestlers and PRIDE fighters. Shinya Hashimoto worked the show, beating PRIDE's Gary Goodridge. Ken Shamrock (accompanied by former on-screen WWF sister Ryan Shamrock) and Don Frye teamed up against Nobuhiko Takada and Keiji Muto (who had a shaved head). Shamrock and Frye got into it after the match, to set up a future match with them (whether wrestling or PRIDE, who knows). And the show was capped off by Antonio Inoki going to a 3 minute draw with Renzo Gracie in an "exhibition" match. It was historical for several reasons, the first being that Renzo will now likely go down in the record books as Inoki's final opponent ever (yup). And because it was also the first time a Gracie family member did an obviously worked match, which the whole family had always vowed to never do. The show ended with Inoki doing his catchphrase as the clock struck midnight to usher in 2001. And then he slapped 108 people. You see, Inoki does this thing where it's seen as an honor to be slapped by him because he transfers his fighting spirit to you that way. Anyway, among the 108 people he slapped were Hashimoto, Bas Rutten, Yuji Nagata, and Tatsumi Fujinami. (Nowadays, we all look back at the 2000s Inoki era and how his obsession with MMA nearly killed NJPW, but it's easy to forget that, at least initially, this whole way of thinking was a massive success. Until it wasn't).

This video is great, by the way

- Observer Award winners will be announced next week but since all the votes are safely in, Dave decides to give his own personal opinion on who the wrestler of the year is. He bases his pick on a lot of different criteria. In-ring ability, drawing power, value to their company, championships, noteworthy accomplishments, etc. He ranks people in each category by points and then adds it all up. Anyway, remember this is just Dave's opinion, not the actual award. But his pick is...Kazushi Sakuraba, who isn't technically a wrestler. He's MMA. But he had an incredible 2000, basically the guy who put PRIDE on the map this year and has single-handedly decimated every member of the legendary Gracie family that he's stepped in the ring with, becoming a huge star in doing so. But if you don't count him, Dave goes with Rock, Triple H, and Toshiaki Kawada in that order.

- Vince McMahon has an interesting interview in an upcoming issue of Playboy. Excerpts were released by the New York Daily News and there's a lot of revealing info about McMahon's life. Unfortunately, Dave has to remind us that this *is* Vince McMahon, and he's well known for exaggerating basically everything he ever says publicly, so who knows how much of this stuff about his early life is actually true. In the interview, he talks about being abused by his stepfather, and says, "It's unfortunate that he died before I could kill him. I would have enjoyed that." And though he didn't outright say it, he strongly hinted that he had been sexually abused by his mother. McMahon is also candid about his previous affairs, noting he'd been faithful to his wife for the past 6 years (this is actually pretty interesting. If you recall, in the coverage of the 1994 steroid trial, there was a moment during the trial where it came out that Vince had an affair with his former secretary, a former Playboy playmate named Emily Feinberg. She later became a key witness in the trial. But there's a moment in the trial when it comes out and it seems as if that's how Linda McMahon learns of the affair, through that testimony, and is crying in the courtroom. And, ironically enough, that would be right about 6 years before this interview). McMahon also defended his decision to continue the PPV after Owen Hart's death, saying he believes Owen would have wanted the show to go on (Dave points out that most of the Hart family has vehemently disagreed with that). Anyway, the magazine with the full interview will be out next week and I'm sure Dave will have more to say then.

- A note on the Observer. Dave usually mails issues out on Wednesdays so most people in the U.S. have them by Saturday or Monday. But there have been problems, specifically in the Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Michigan areas that are getting there's late. So if you live in those states and haven't gotten your latest 2001 Observer, call or fax Dave.

- Mark Madden was fired by WCW last week in a controversial decision. Madden was told he was being fired for comments he made on the air regarding the sale of the company (an inside joke he made on TV awhile back that most people wouldn't have even picked up on) and for talking about Scott Hall on air, which he hasn't done in weeks after he was told not to the first time (Dave points out that on every show since then, while Madden never referenced Hall again, Kevin Nash, DDP, and even Tony Schiavone have done so repeatedly with no punishment). It's also believed Madden was in trouble for a recent hotline report where he did talk about both Hall and the sale of WCW. However, back in 1996, when Madden got in trouble on the hotline for calling Hall and Nash by their WWF names (which led to a years-long lawsuit), Madden's hotline reports were pre-recorded and vetted by WCW before they were posted and he would be alerted if he needed to change anything. But apparently no one listened to this one or cared and it got posted. There's also heat on Madden for an interview he did where he defended Scott Steiner for his backstage fight with DDP, with Madden pointing out how DDP had repeatedly went against orders by talking about Scott Hall on live TV and how the previous week on Thunder, he was supposed to give a diamond cutter to one member of the Natural Born Thrillers but Madden said he "went into business for himself" and hit all 5 members of the group with the move. Basically, he's saying DDP's a dick and deserved to get his face pummeled by Steiner. (As of 2019, I think the verdict is in. DDP: not a dick). Madden was also recently suspended for a week because he called DDP "leatherface" on TV, which DDP didn't care for. There was also an incident last week where DDP tried to talk things out with him but Madden refused to shake his hand, which many thought was disrespectful and a bad move politically. Madden has had issues with DDP for awhile and with Bischoff likely taking over the reins soon, he feels like that's the real reason he was fired. Basically, there could be a lot of different reasons, but different people told him different things, leading Madden to believe it pretty much just amounted to they wanted him gone and came up with whatever they could think of to justify it. This is all just such childish, petty nonsense. It's really no wonder this dumb ass company went out of business.

- Madden had a $150,000-per-year deal on a 90-day cycle and is expected to be paid through the end of January, but WCW is threatening to withhold his final paychecks because of an interview he did after he was fired, where he was critical of the company. Madden says he was first told he was being fired because of disciplinary reasons but then was later told it wasn't because of that. Dave suspects the reason they back-pedaled is because firing Madden for disciplinary reasons, but not punishing others who have repeatedly done what he did and worse would probably not look good for the company if Madden wanted to file a lawsuit over it. A lot of this DDP/Madden stuff happened backstage at the 12/18 Nitro, which is the same show the Steiner/DDP fight happened on and the same show DDP, Nash, and Sid Vicious all walked out on. And yet Madden is the only person fired, while the 4 wrestlers involved are world champion, tag team champions, and main eventing the next PPV with not even a reprimand. Needless to say, a lot of people in the company got the favoritism message loud and clear.

- Nikkan Sports in Japan had a poll asking readers to list the biggest wrestling news story of the century. The answers were broken down by age groups. People 50 years or older voted Rikidozan's death by a huge margin. Ages 40-49 also voted Rikidozan's death. Ages 30-39 voted the Antonio Inoki vs. Muhammad Ali match by a wide margin. Everyone younger than that voted Giant Baba's death. Obviously, people who weren't old enough to remember Rikidozan or the Inoki/Ali match didn't vote for those so it's kinda interesting to see what stories each age group thinks is the biggest. Dave has the full list broken down and all the famous stories are there. The AJPW/NOAH split, formation of NJPW, the Inoki/Saito jungle match, Maeda getting fired by NJPW and forming UWF, and so on and so forth. Dave says, from a historical perspective, Rikidozan's death is undoubtedly the biggest news story because of the trickle down effect it had on the industry as a whole still to this day.

- Everything did bad ratings this week. It was Christmas, it was New Years, WCW aired "best of 2000" shows (which is laughable in itself) while Raw did a rating that's actually pretty scary. Of course it was low because of Christmas but there's also something in ratings called the *share*, which basically factors in how many people are actually watching television overall that night and what the percentage of that is watching your show and yada yada. It gets a little number-y but point being, even if you took Christmas out of the equation and adjusted for that, this rating would still be the lowest Raw rating in years even on a normal night. Raw ratings have been trending downwards ever since the move to TNN. Luckily for them, Monday Night Football will be ending soon (and WCW, though we don't know that yet).

- Mexican star Ciclon Ramirez was arrested for vehicular homicide following an accident in which he crashed his car while driving drunk. Ramirez survived but 2 passengers in his car were both killed instantly (not sure what happened here. His Wikipedia page doesn't say anything about it. Looking at his cagematch.net page, he wrestled full time right until the time of the accident. Then a couple of matches in 2001 and then nothing until 2005, so maybe he was in jail for that time? No idea and I never read anything about it later.)

- In reviewing the big NOAH show from last week, Dave writes about the Kobashi vs. Akiyama main event and gives it 4 and 1/........???? HE DOESN'T SAY! The last number is cut off. Is it 1/2? 1/4? The world may never know. Anyway, once NOAH gets their feet under them and has a secure TV deal, they plan to hold their first show at Budokan Hall.

- Chris Candido and Tammy Sytch are claiming to have signed a 1 year deal with NJPW (yup, looks to be true. I had no idea but he apparently spent most of 2001 and some of 2002 working there).

- RINGS in Japan is looking at doing a big 10th anniversary show and apparently, Inoki is pushing them to do a match between Naoya Ogawa vs. Mike Tyson. Dave isn't surprised. Inoki is trying to groom Ogawa as his successor and is trying to get him over the same way he got over, and re-creating the famous Inoki/Ali match would be just what Inoki would probably love to do. But Dave doesn't think this has a chance in hell of happening (nope, but bet your ass we're going to hear more about this because Inoki damn sure tries).

- Atsushi Onita showed up uninvited to Inoki's New Year's Eve show and told reporters he wanted a match with Inoki. But Inoki never met with him. Onita gave a letter to PRIDE president Naoto Morishita asking for Inoki to come out of retirement to face him. Classic Onita.

- Another big news story in Canada covered the Owen Hart lawsuit settlement and the story featured a ton of choice quotes from various Hart family members. Bret Hart accused his sisters Ellie and Diana of using Owen's death for their own purposes and of trying to get some of the settlement money from their parents. Martha Hart talked about the foundation she's setting up in Owen's name using some of her settlement money. The story also talked about Bret getting upset with his parents because he loaned them money and they turned around and gave the money to Ellie (after she had already sided with the WWF in the lawsuit). Ellie said she had recently reunited with Jim Neidhart, after they had split because he was addicted to crack cocaine. And Helen Hart, the mother of all these damn rascals, just seems sad about it, talks about how she loves and will help all her children and says she wishes the whole family had been farmers instead of wrestlers because they would all be better off if not for the wrestling business.

- Scott Hall was released from jail this week.

- ECW's PPV is coming up this weekend and Dave runs down the lineup and mentions that the idea is to position Rhino as the new top star of the company by the time the show is over, but who knows what that means. But expect Rhino to be booked strong (yeah, just a tad).

- ECW is in a bit of a situation with MSG Network, which airs their TV show in syndication in New York. ECW is not listed on the upcoming TV listings this week, which would be the go-home show for the PPV which is hugely important because the PPV is in New York and also, New York is their biggest TV market. It costs ECW more than $4,000 per week to air on that network and apparently the payment was sent late. Heyman claims the show is still going to air on Jan. 6th and the situation has been worked out. But as of Jan. 2nd, two different spokespeople from MSG Network told Dave the show wasn't going to air, saying ECW hasn't renewed their deal, but they're still in talks. Basically, as long as Heyman can pay for it in time, they're expected to air but as of press time, MSG Network is still waiting.

- Lots of rumors going around that the sale of WCW will be announced before the end of this month. Still no word on what the deal entails or what Bischoff has planned for the company.

- There was a lot of controversy over Jeff Jarrett not being allowed to work a match for WWC in Puerto Rico. So here's the deal, WCW has been preventing its guys from working indie shows. Konnan and Rey Mysterio were recently forbidden to work a show in Mexico for example. But Jarrett had been asked to come headline a WWC show against Carly Colon for the Universal title. WCW agreed and Jarrett was booked for the show and WWC promoted the hell out of it. But then WCW changed their mind. So now Jarrett was forced to pull out of the show, which makes him look bad (through no fault of his own) and severely screws over WWC, which had spent weeks promoting this huge show at a 23,000-seat arena built around Jarrett vs. Colon for the main event. Dave understands that WCW doesn't want to risk its top stars getting hurt on indie shows. But WCW is barely running shows anymore and these guys are allegedly independent contractors. But the contract allows WCW that right, so there ya go. Dave thinks they should have just bitten the bullet and allowed Jarrett to work the show since they had already approved it, but then there's also the double standard of why it was approved in the first place while other guys like Konnan and Mysterio were turned down outright.

- Apparently a few months ago, a stink bomb got set off on a WCW flight. As a result, referee Mickey Jay was suspended for a month while referee Mark Johnson and announcer Dave Penzer were each suspended for a week.

- In case you're curious about the statistics needed to render a championship meaningless: in 2000, WWF had 5 world title changes. ECW also had 5 world title changes. WCW had 26.

- Jim Ross is planning to meet with Shawn Michaels soon about returning, most likely for a singles match against Triple H at Wrestlemania. Shawn has been open about wanting to return but a lot of wrestlers in the locker room don't want him back and WWF has been very careful to try not to upset the morale in its locker room since things are going so good.

- Early reviews for Mummy 2 are in and people who have seen it tell Dave they're convinced that by this time next year, the Rock is going to be a bigger star outside of wrestling than he could ever be in WWF, because it appears he's pretty good at this whole acting thing. Who knows what that means for his long-term career in wrestling. Dave says he can't imagine Rock leaving the business, but his days of working 200 house shows per year may not last much longer.

- Someone writes in and says if Kevin Nash is truly Scott Hall's friend, he'll stop pushing to bring him back to WCW and instead do whatever he can to get Hall the help he obviously needs. Going back on the road and hanging out in the locker room is clearly the last thing Hall needs and if Nash cares about his friend, he'll stop encouraging it.

Does Kevin Nash ever stop encouraging it? He comes across as a meathead jock who doesn't want to get real and talk about actual consequences or problems, just wants to drink and have a good time.
Nope, not really. If I recall, he loses a "retirement" match in February or something and then never returns to WCW before they close. But pretty much up until his last appearance, he's still cutting promos and pushing to get Hall back.

Never liked Mark Madden. I think it’s fairly obvious what kind of person he is if you ever listen to an interview from him or read some of his stuff.

I have seen that Inoki thing a few times but never with context. Kind of cool.

Rikidozan should really get more attention/interest. In today’s connected world, his death would have been massive. Part of the reason his death was such a big deal is because he was Japan’s first real sports star post WWII. Everyone knew who he was and he gave them hope in a time when everyone in the country still felt defeated. On a side note, not sure if this was ever posted here, there was a video game in the early 2000’s which featured Rikidozan descending from the heavens so that you can wrestle him.


Agag @ the stinkbomb incident. Wish I could hear the story behind that. Double agag @ Bret Hart using his newspaper column to trash his family every week!
[Image: WmfNhHX.png]
(04-17-2019, 09:28 AM)Peezy Wrote: 1-8-2001- In reviewing the big NOAH show from last week, Dave writes about the Kobashi vs. Akiyama main event and gives it 4 and 1/........???? HE DOESN'T SAY! The last number is cut off. Is it 1/2? 1/4? The world may never know. Anyway, once NOAH gets their feet under them and has a secure TV deal, they plan to hold their first show at Budokan Hall.

listed as 4 1/4 according to this google doc:

it also lists last week's "lost 5 star classic", so there ya go....
[Image: 24H1eOe.jpg]
[+] 1 user Likes twiztor's post
[+] 2 users Like Zack T's post


- The results of the 21st annual Observer Awards are in, so let's see what everyone thought was the best of the best in the year 2000.

FEUD OF THE YEAR - Triple H vs. Mick Foley
TAG TEAM OF THE YEAR - Edge & Christian
BRUISER BRODY MEMORIAL AWARD (BEST BRAWLER) - Mick Foley (for the 10th consecutive year in a row)
MOST OVERRATED - Kevin Nash (2nd year in a row)
MOST UNDERRATED - Chris Jericho (also 2nd year in a row)
PROMOTION OF THE YEAR - WWF (2nd year in a row. Meanwhile, WCW didn't even make the list. There's a top 10 promotions, plus 3 honorable mentions, and WCW isn't a single one of them.)
MATCH OF THE YEAR - Atlantis vs. Villano III


BEST NON-WRESTLER - Vince McMahon (followed by Stephanie in 2nd place and Shane in 3rd. This is back in the days when it was still kinda fresh and we weren't sick of all of them yet)
BEST TV ANNOUNCER - Jim Ross (3rd year in a row)
WORST TV ANNOUNCER - Tony Schiavone (2nd year in a row)
BEST MAJOR WRESTLING SHOW - CMLL's March 17, 2000 Arena Mexico event (same show that MOTY winner was from)
WORST MAJOR WRESTLING SHOW - WCW Halloween Havoc (WCW PPVs make up 8 of the top 10)
BEST WRESTLING MOVE - Dragon Kid's dragonrana


READERS' LEAST FAVORITE WRESTLER - Kevin Nash (ending Hulk Hogan's 6-year streak)
WORST WRESTLER - Kevin Nash (2nd year in a row)
WORST TAG TEAM - Kronik (by an overwhelming margin)
WORST TELEVISION SHOW - WCW Thunder (for the 2nd year in a row, and followed closely by WCW Nitro)
WORST NON-WRESTLING PERSONALITY - Vince Russo (once again, by an overwhelming margin. And finally ending Sonny Onoo's 4-year streak)
WORST MATCH OF THE YEAR - Pat Patterson vs. Gerald Brisco (Evening Gown match from King of the Ring)


WORST FEUD OF THE YEAR - Hulk Hogan vs. Billy Kidman (beating out New Blood vs. Millionaire's Club by 1 vote)
WORST PROMOTION - WCW (3rd year in a row, and by a STAGGERINGLY overwhelming margin)
BEST BOOKER - Vince McMahon (3rd year in a row)
PROMOTER OF THE YEAR - Vince McMahon (3rd year in a row)
SHOOT FIGHTER OF THE YEAR - Kazushi Sakuraba (no one else even close)
SHOOT MATCH OF THE YEAR - Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Royce Gracie
WORST GIMMICK - Mike Awesome (That 70s Guy)

- NJPW's Jan. 4th Tokyo Dome show is in the books and it's hard to judge the impact of this show now. Dave thinks it'll be better to look back at this show a few months from now and see if the right decisions were made. They announced 62,001 fans (to play off 2001, get it?) but the real number was, of course, less. Most of the matches were very good but some of the finishes were questionable. Shinya Hashimoto vs. Riki Choshu ended with a non-finish that the crowd absolutely hated. They were super into the match but the finish was a bad copy of the Hashimoto/Ogawa finish from 2 years ago, pretending the match had turned into an out of control shoot. But nobody bought it and when the match was stopped, fans were literally screaming for refunds. And Kensuke Sasaki won the tournament to regain the vacant IWGP title, which the live crowd loved, but from a long-term business standpoint, Dave thinks it was the wrong move. For the good of the AJPW vs. NJPW feud, it's too soon for Kawada to be doing a clean job to NJPW's champion. There had been discussions for Kawada to win, and then challenge Tenryu in a champion vs. champion match, which would have been huge business but NJPW apparently balked at putting their title on an AJPW star. Also, during the show, they aired a video on screen with Inoki (who got the biggest pop of the show, even though he wasn't there in person) and during the video, Inoki talked about how the world was changing and how pro wrestling needed to change with it. He told fans not to be scared to support new concepts (and thus, the next several years of Inoki nearly running NJPW out of business with his MMA obsession has begun).

- In what may have been the company's swan song, ECW's Guilty As Charged PPV is in the books, but there's more questions than answers about the future of ECW right now. There are only 2 shows left on the schedule, which are sold shows in Poplar Bluff, MO and Pine Bluff, AR this coming weekend. As of press time, nobody had gotten plane tickets for those shows yet. ECW has a March 11th date scheduled for their next PPV and they promoted it during this show, but no venue has been booked for it yet. Wrestlers received half their weekly pay at the show, which puts everyone about 7 weeks behind and morale was terrible, as you'd expect. Furthermore, ECW has indeed lost its TV deal on the MSG Network due to lack of payment, which means they no longer have television in their key market of New York. Their show scheduled to air on TV the night before the PPV ended up not airing and even worse, no television show has even been produced to air next week and it's looking like the company may not be doing anymore TV at all going forward.

- Other notes from the PPV: The show drew a sellout crowd of 2,500 to Hammerstein Ballroom. Going into the event, ECW had promised on their website a surprise that would change the face of ECW, which ended up being the surprise return of Rob Van Dam. Needless to say, while cool, it wasn't exactly a groundbreaking moment that's going to save the company and a lot of people felt like Heyman stooped to Bischoff and Russo-levels of over-hype with that announcement, desperately promising something huge to draw in PPV buys but delivering something weak. Honestly, Dave thinks announcing RVD's return ahead of time probably would have generated more buys than hyping it up as a surprise. Tommy Dreamer vs. CW Anderson in an I Quit match was surprisingly good and even in defeat, the crowd gave Anderson a standing ovation when it was over. Missy Hyatt appeared in a backstage comedy skit. Sandman won the ECW title only to be attacked afterwards and challenged for a match on the spot by Rhino, who then won the belt from him. So Rhino is your new (and final) ECW champion. Then RVD came out to challenge Rhino for the belt, but Rhino left and RVD ended up pinning Jerry Lynn in a good main event. The show ended with a backstage promo with Justin Credible and Steve Corino uniting as a team to form a new version of the Impact Players. And with that, ECW's final PPV and in fact, final televised event ever is in the books.

- Two obituaries together for 2 Mexican wrestling stars from the 1980s who died this week, Villano I and Kung Fu. Brief recap of each of their careers, but nothing much else to add.

- A total of 7.1 million viewers watched wrestling on Monday night, the lowest total in several years. And you can't blame it on Monday Night Football either, because that wasn't on. The American Music Awards were on instead, but they did a lower rating than football usually does, so can't really blame that either. It was especially bad for Nitro, which set multiple records this week. Lowest rated unopposed hour ever, lowest rated opposed hour ever, overall lowest rated episode ever in the regular time slot, and even the lowest quarter hour rating for a segment in the history of the show (DDP & Nash vs. Natural Born Thrillers). Needless to say, this week was pretty much rock bottom for WCW Nitro.

- AJPW is no longer planning to bring in RVD for their big Tokyo Dome show later this month because Motoko Baba feels they have too many foreigners for that show. They are interested in bringing Tajiri in at some point.

- Scott Hall claims he's headed to work some shows in NJPW soon. But NJPW announced the cards for their upcoming tours and he's not on their list, so take it with a grain of salt until Dave can confirm otherwise (Hall was actually telling the truth here. He ends up spending a big chunk of 2001 working for NJPW).

- Nell Stewart, who was the big sex symbol during the 1950s era of women's wrestling, passed away at 69 after battling cancer. She was nicknamed the Betty Grable of Pro Wrestling and was married to promoter Billy Wolfe, who had previously been married to Mildred Burke.

- FX Networks, which is one of the channels Paul Heyman has been negotiating with, stated this week that they have no interest in airing a pro wrestling show. So...not great news for Heyman (or Bischoff for that matter, as we'll find out in the coming months).

- The announcement of the sale of WCW is expected at any moment. People close to the situation tell Dave the deal was finalized over the past few days. Though for what it's worth, Dave says he's been hearing that every week for months now, so who knows anymore.

- The TV situation with WCW is something that has been talked about a lot lately. TNT is planning to change direction in regards to its programming and it's been known for awhile now that Nitro would likely move to TBS in a year or so. But now, with ratings in the toilet, there's talk that TBS might want Nitro after all. It's thought that Turner may end up only broadcasting one wrestling show per week, probably on TBS, but it might not be Nitro and may not be Monday either. TBS also has a lot of other sports commitments, so depending on what night the show ends up on, it could also end up getting bumped around like the old days, when Georgia Championship Wrestling got shuffled around constantly so they could air Atlanta Braves games instead (and now we're getting into the real death of WCW, with Turner starting to realize that even if Bischoff buys the company, they don't want this low rated show on their networks anymore. And without TV, Bischoff's deal falls apart).

- Dave takes a moment to remind everyone that 2 years ago this week, WCW drew nearly 40,000 fans to the Georgia Dome for Nitro, in a show that ended with the infamous fingerpoke of doom. On the same night, Mick Foley won the WWF title and Tony Schiavone made the "Ha, that'll put butts in seats" comment while giving away the result. Funny how quickly things change.

- Nitro will be pre-empted again in two weeks because TNT is airing the movie "2001" since, well, it's now 2001. Dave says it's good that WCW got 2 weeks to get the word out, but this just shows how little TNT gives a shit about Nitro these days. It's the 2nd time in recent months that they have bumped Nitro in order to air a movie from 20 years ago.

- Vince Russo is attempting to come back to WCW. His contract is similar to the wrestlers, in that his pay can be cut in half if he's gone too long, and he's approaching the time limit. But Dave doubts it'll happen. Apparently, the Turner people want him gone, so even if the company isn't sold, they don't want him back. And Bischoff doesn't get along with him either, so it's unlikely he'll bring Russo back either.

- Various WCW notes: former announcer Mark Madden says he's working on a book about his time in WCW. They have been scripting all the wrestlers's interviews lately and because everybody is trying to memorize lines, it comes across like bad acting rather than natural talking. Dave doesn't seem to like the idea of carefully scripted promos (oh my, have I got some bad news for him). Film critic Roger Ebert listed "Ready To Rumble" as one of the worst movies of the year. Dave says WCW's big mistake was marketing this movie to wrestling fans and then releasing a turd of a movie that basically insulted all wrestling fans.

- Backstage WCW announcer Pamela Paulshock was the latest cost-cutting release, so she's gone. Even though the sale isn't finalized yet, Eric Bischoff is basically pulling the strings when it comes to deciding who they're keeping and releasing right now, and he's trying to get rid of most of the women, since they have so many on the roster that don't really add anything other than the occasional eye candy. Torrie Wilson was obviously the most marketable woman they had, but she also had the highest contract, so she was the first one they cut loose weeks ago.

- Notes from Raw: it opened with a promo that involved Vince, Austin, and Angle. And out of the 3, Angle was by far the best talker in the ring, which Dave never would have guessed was possible less than a year ago, and goes to show just how far Angle has come as an all-around performer. Dean Malenko worked a match, despite the fact that he had his knee scoped only 4 days earlier, but to be fair, he didn't do much. Angle vs. Austin was the main event, and it was the best match on Raw in a long time, with Austin looking better in the ring than he did before the neck injury, and even took about 10 different variations of suplexes from Angle. And Triple H returned to cost him the match to end the show with a crazy hot angle. It ended with them playing Triple H's new music (the same Motorhead song he still uses to this day)

- Notes from the recent Smackdown tapings: The Prototype (John Cena) worked a dark match and looked pretty impressive. There was a match with Test vs. K-Kwik that is going to have to be heavily edited because Kwik missed spot after spot, including one move 3 times in a row that was supposed to lead to the finish. Hey, everybody has an off night sometimes, it happens.

- Some details on Jesse Ventura's XFL contract. It calls for him to announce 12 games. Also, he can't be referred to as "governor" on the broadcasts or in any XFL promotional materials, in order to avoid the appearance that he's using his elected office for personal gain.

- The Rock is going to be working a very limited house show schedule going forward because he's spending a lot of time taking acting lessons to prepare for his lead role in "Scorpion King" which starts filming in a couple of months. It'll be about 3 months and he's likely not going to be available much during that time. He probably won't do any house shows and will work very limited TV and PPVs.

- The Rock also got a lot of publicity for appearing alongside Bill Gates at CES to reveal Microsoft's new video game console, the XBox (as if that thing is ever gonna take off, pfft...)


- Nothing much new on Jerry Lynn or RVD coming to WWF. They're still interested in both guys, but right now, Vince is trying not to do anything that would hurt ECW and isn't going to sign their stars until their situation is cleared up one way or another. WWF wrestlers were asked about their feelings on both guys and everyone who's worked with him said they love Jerry Lynn and want to see him in WWF. Those who have worked with RVD weren't as kind and there was a lot of negativity to the idea of bringing him in, so WWF is a little more cautious about him right now. But they'll probably both end up in WWF eventually.

- WWF is starting a new web site at WWFParents.com to help parents decide whether or not to let their kids watch WWF programming, in response to all the negative publicity from the PTC.

- Jim Ross met with Shawn Michaels recently and they discussed the possibility of him coming back for a limited schedule and doing a few matches. Ultimately, it's up to Vince but within the company, a lot of people aren't big on the idea. Naturally, there's concern over Shawn's usual behavior. If he goes out publicly shit-talking the company again or throws a temper tantrum when he's asked to do something he doesn't want to do, then what? It's worth noting that Shawn's 5-year, $750,000-per-year contract expires in a few months. Dave says if Shawn wants to come back, it'll have to be soon. Otherwise, he'll likely go to WCW when he's free, since that's where Nash is. But whether Shawn can resume a limited schedule or not depends on how his back holds up after one match. If he does okay in the ring and stays out of trouble backstage, they may continue to have him work the occasional big show.

- The plug you saw on Raw for "Tough Enough" is actually an idea for a new 13-week show on MTV. WWF is recruiting men and women who want to be wrestlers and it will be a reality show where they whittle it down to one male and one female winner, who would then be given developmental contracts. Dave notes that everyone is trying to copy the success of Survivor these days.

- Dave finally read the full Vince McMahon Playboy interview and as is par for the course with Vince, there were the usual exaggerations and half-truths. But it was still pretty interesting. Vince claimed that very few of the WWF wrestlers hang out at the bar and drink or do drugs anymore, which Dave says everyone backstage laughed at because that's not even remotely true. Vince admitted that they may have pushed some angles too far, such as the Mark Henry/transvestite angle awhile back. He talked about the years when WCW was winning the war, saying it was only because Ted Turner was paying all the top stars more money (to this day, the WWE narrative is that WCW was only winning the war because Ted Turner spent a bunch of money buying all Vince's top stars. They still portray it as a Vince vs. Ted Turner issue, when in reality, Ted Turner could barely have cared less what was happening in the wrestling war. Bischoff rarely gets the full credit he deserves for using those top stars to simply produce a much better product than WWF was doing at the time).

- In another recent interview, Linda McMahon noted that the company has toyed with the idea of an all-WWF cable channel but said it's a long-term goal, not any time soon (how does 2014 sound?)

[+] 1 user Likes Peezy's post
Huh. Guilty as Charged is literally the only original ECW show I've ever seen as a friend in high school was super big on ECW and RVD was his favorite wrestler at the time. He taped the show and let me watch it after. It was quite good. Joel Gertner's opening monologue is hilarious. Never knew it was the last televised show.

RVD and Jerry Lynn do indeed end up in WWF. Jerry Lynn even gets to become light heavyweight champion, but really it doesn't matter at all and he's gone not too long after that as I recall. Or if he stuck around longer, he never was used on main TV much. RVD on the other hand, he took off pretty well. I instantly took a liking to RVD.

I would go around high school doing the R-V-D thumb pointing stuff. I was such a fuckin nerd.
[+] 1 user Likes Zack T's post
Lynn won the light heavyweight title from Jeff Hardy in his first match on tv I believe but lost it soon after back to Hardy. I think he got injured and they never brought them back.

I loved Jerry Lynn playing the heel on that last ppv. I wish we could have seen an extended run with him as a heel.

I was at that last ecw show. It was a letdown as far as most of the bigger names didn't show but it was still a fun show. Sandman came down right through the middle of our group. Here's the main matches we got...

Justin Credible beat Sandman in a "wrestling" match.
Sandman beat Justin Credible in an "ecw" match
Rhino beat Spike Dudley
Doring and Dreamer (subbing for Roadkill) beat FBI

I'm fuzzy on the rest of it. York and Matthews I think wrestled EZ Money and Julio Dinero.
Nova was there but I can't remember who he wrestled.
CW Anderson, Lou E, and Jack Victory were there
No RVD, Lynn, New Jack, or Da Baldies
[+] 1 user Likes sanderz1's post

- After nearly a year of rumors and questions, it was officially announced this week that Time Warner will sell WCW to Fusient Media Ventures, a company owned by Brian Bedol and Stephen Greenberg, with Eric Bischoff being put in charge as WCW President and head of creative. Coincidentally (or not), literally hours after the WCW sale was announced, it was also announced that the Time Warner/AOL merger had been completed. Fusient Media Ventures is a company best known for starting up the Classic Sports Network, which was later sold to ESPN and became ESPN Classics. The actual sale is expected to take 30-60 days and in the meantime, changes in WCW will be gradual. But there is already an emphasis being placed on better matches, clean finishes, and less crash TV. Wrestlers were also told to tone down the language, with Bischoff saying WCW's attempt to compete with WWF by sinking to their level has been a failed experiment. In regards to Russo blaming his failures on Turner's standards & practices department, Bischoff called it "a crock that Russo peddled" and said his excuses were "a load of crap."

- Time Warner will retain a minority interest in WCW in order to keep the television rights. Terms of the sale have not been revealed publicly, likely because the number is thought to be embarrassingly low (ha! Just wait until the price Vince paid for it is revealed). Someone close to the sources say Fusient bought WCW for "pennies." Just a year ago, SFX was interested in buying WCW and that deal fell apart because Time Warner wanted $600 million for it. And now it's sold for probably less than a fraction of that. There's some concern about Fusient as a company because a lot of their resources are heavy investments in internet start-up companies, an economic sector that has been struggling lately (yeah, this was right about the time that the dot-com bubble was bursting. Which makes one wonder, even if this sale had happened and Bischoff got WCW, how would it have done when all that dot-com money dried up a year later?).

- Bischoff has done a lot of interviews since the sale was announced and while he's been vague on a lot of stuff because the details haven't been finalized yet, he's started to give some insight into his future plans for the company. Hulk Hogan is expected to return but probably not until all the lawsuit stuff over the Russo incident is settled. Hogan's existing WCW contract expires in 2 months, so WWF is always a possibility and he's got a lot of offers outside of wrestling as well. The company has no plans to run house shows in the immediate future, but Bischoff hinted that they would eventually return to that. He wants to go back to filming Thunder separately because the combined Nitro/Thunder tapings kill the crowd. He also wants to keep Nitro on Mondays and plans to continue the once-per-month PPV schedule. They're expected to run all tapings out of one location (long rumored to be Las Vegas, but possibly Orlando or Los Angeles) but haven't decided on that yet.

- The short-term plan is to shut down WCW temporarily, probably for 3-4 weeks, and then do a full relaunch. Bischoff also made it clear that he's aware that they need to create new stars. He also said no more active talent will be working as bookers. He admitted spreading himself too thin in the past by being an on-screen performer and the backstage boss and Bischoff apparently plans to stay off-screen this time. Many of the wrestlers' contracts are expected to be renegotiated when they come up, so everybody should probably expect paycuts soon. Bischoff is also interested in keeping WCW's relationship with NJPW and has spoken with Masa Saito about keeping it going. In regards to Scott Hall, Bischoff said there's no spot for him in WCW unless he can get his life straight. Same with Juventud Guerrera, who Bischoff said would have to prove himself outside of WCW before ever being given a chance again. In regards to Mark Madden, he seemed unsure if he would bring him back, saying Madden is very talented but needs to know his role and has a tendency to try and get himself over on commentary. Fusient CEO Brian Bedol has apparently been excited about the idea of doing an inter-promotional show with WWF, figuring that McMahon might be open to the idea if the Ted Turner connection was no longer an issue. But Bischoff understands Vince McMahon a little better than Bedol and doesn't see it happening.

- WCW isn't the only company being sold, as just a few hours later, it was announced that UFC is being sold to a Las Vegas-based company called Zuffa, which is owned by a Nevada state athletic commission member Lorenzo Ferititta and other members of his family. While they own the company, the day-to-day operations will be ran by Dana White, a former manager for Tito Ortiz. It's believed Zuffa's connections with the athletic commission in Nevada will go a long way towards helping UFC gain a foothold in Vegas, which would be a major stepping stone for rebuilding the promotion. UFC co-founder Bob Meyrowitz called the sale great news for the company but a sad day for him, but guaranteed that UFC would be back on PPV nationwide within 6 months. For now, Zuffa doesn't plan to change anything before their next big show, but they will be taking charge of the company effective almost immediately.

- WCW's latest PPV Sin is in the books and it saw Sid Vicious suffer one of the most physically horrifying injuries in the history of sports. It was even worse than the infamous Joe Theisman leg injury, with Sid's leg bending sideways at a 45 degree angle. Sid suffered a compound fracture of the lower leg, snapping both his fibula and tibia. The injury required a 2 hour surgery during which a steel rod was put in his leg. He's expected to be out of action at least 6-8 months (waaaaay longer). During the PPV, the cameras missed the injury when it happened, but they aired the footage the next night on Nitro. Eric Bischoff went back and forth on whether or not to show it, but finally decided to do so. It was a sickening scene and as he was going to the hospital, Sid was in incredible pain (as you can imagine) and his leg had to be held in place to keep it from flopping around. Sid also reportedly went into the match with a serious back injury that they didn't know about either. The match ended early because of Sid's injury, totally screwing up the main angle which was Road Warrior Animal being revealed as the mystery man. It was originally supposed to be Rick Steiner, but they changed it because they felt too many people already knew. Dave says changing your booking plans because a small group of hardcore fans know about the big surprise is bad booking and the kind of Russo-esque shit they need to stop doing. There was no pop whatsoever for the reveal of Animal as the mystery man and the crowd just seemed kinda confused by the whole thing. There was also the obvious fact that Sid was injured, as blood was getting all over the ring (because the bone stabbed through the skin) while he was taken out on a stretcher. The planned finish of the main event was for Sid to be making a comeback during Animal's entrance and then Animal would turn on Sid so Steiner could pin him, but they obviously had to improvise. Even if things had gone according to plan, Dave can only shake his head at WCW pinning their hopes on yet another washed up 80s star to play a key role in the main event scene.

So....here's the leak break. Most of us have seen this before I'm sure, but if you haven't, watch at your own risk.


- Other notes from the PPV: because of the impending sale, everyone had their working boots on, figuring their job probably depends on how hard they work. As a result, a lot of the matches were good and for the first half of the show, it felt like the 96-98 glory days again. The show also drew 4,600+ paid which is better than they've been doing, so that's a positive. Dave thinks Kaz Hayashi is an incredible talent and says WCW is stupid if they don't do something more with him in the future. The tag match he was in was the show-stealer (4.25 stars) but not a single one of the guys in the match was even mentioned on Nitro the next night, so....same ol' WCW so far. They did an angle with Goldberg losing his match and therefore being forced to retire, which of course nobody takes seriously in wrestling anyway and especially not in WCW. It's just another stipulation that they're going to eventually go back on and further erode the trust of their audience. And the main event was terrible even before Sid was injured and Dave gives it -2 stars.

- Oh fuck me, Dave decides to do an in-depth dive on the issue of guaranteed contracts in wrestling and whether guaranteed money makes wrestlers lazy and unmotivated as opposed to incentive-based deals. Dave disagrees and points out once again that wrestlers are actually still way underpaid compared to the revenue a company like WWF makes or what WCW was making a few years ago. Now, of course, many of WCW's wrestlers are overpaid because they don't have the revenue coming in anymore. But in 2000, even if every single wrestler in the company had worked for free, WCW still would have had tens of millions in losses. In WWF, they're still underpaid, but that's their fault. Management in any company is never going to just give away money to be nice. If wrestlers want to be paid what they're worth, they should unionize. But they won't, so moot point. As for whether wrestlers are lazier or work harder depending on what they're paid, Dave thinks it's deeper than that. Look at ECW. For years, they've been paid less than anyone in the other two companies, but you won't find a roster that works harder than ECW's. Even when the checks aren't coming, they have a roster motivated to try and steal the show because Heyman makes them feel appreciated and has always rewarded people who got over with more opportunities to move up the card. What killed WCW morale was a lack of discipline, favoritism and double-standards for top stars, and everyone feeling like there's no upward mobility and no appreciation for hard work. Guys who came into the company hungry to prove themselves eventually had the passion beaten out of them after years of being held down and eventually just started going through the motions to collect a check. He talks about how guys would have show-stealing matches on PPV and then aren't even on the show for weeks after (see Kaz Hayashi as mentioned above). In WWF, you have someone like Jeff Hardy who can't cut a promo to save his life, but he's one of the most popular stars in the company because of his exciting in-ring skills. If WCW had Jeff Hardy, he'd still be killing himself in opening matches, being ignored by commentary, and never pushed. But in WWF, as soon as he started getting a reaction, they got behind him and pushed him. This just goes on and on and doesn't really make a point, it's mostly just an examination of how WCW killed the morale of its own locker room and that's why the inmates running the asylum don't give a shit anymore. But nothing particularly newsworthy.

- Now that the Observer awards for 2000 have been named, Dave decides to give his thoughts on the winners and what he agrees and disagrees with the voters on. Wrestler of the year was won by Triple H and Dave won't argue it though he might have picked Rock. Most Outstanding wrestler was won by Benoit, but Dave says Triple H actually had more in-ring great matches in 2000 and thinks he should have won. Dave knew Rock would win Best Interview, but thinks Foley should have won because his promos have more heart and depth to them, while Rock is all about delivery. Foley won the Best Brawler award for the 10th year in a row and Dave strongly disagrees. He had 2 matches in 2000 that everyone remembers (both of which involved Triple H) and that's it, then he was retired for most of the year. Dave thinks Triple H should have won that as well. He also disagrees with Match of the Year, saying he would have picked Otani & Takaiwa vs. Kanemoto & Tanaka. Tony Schiavone won worst announcer and Dave disagrees with that, saying Schiavone only comes across that badly because he's forced to call such a terrible product. He gives it to Women of Wrestling announcer Lee Marshall. Arquette winning the WCW title won Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic, but Dave thinks putting the title on Russo later in the year was worse, because it proved they didn't learn anything from Arquette. David Flair should have won Worst Wrestler and Dave is befuddled that he didn't. Vince Russo won Worst Non-Wrestler and Dave thinks it should have gone to Debra, Major Gunns, or Judy Bagwell instead. Vince McMahon won Best Booker, which is obvious. But Heyman got 2nd place for that award and Dave doesn't understand why. Putting aside all the business problems, 2000 wasn't exactly a great year for ECW creatively either.

Dave's personal MOTY pick

- AJPW is advertising RVD and Sabu for their upcoming tour in February. RVD says they were offered to work the tour but neither of them has actually officially agreed to yet, but that didn't stop AJPW from promoting it (they both do end up working the shows).

- The turmoil surrounding the American wrestling industry is leading to an influx of American wrestlers looking for work in Japan. But the pickings are slim there also. NJPW is cutting back on foreign talent for budget reasons (it costs more to bring them in) and since the big money is with the homegrown talent and the NJPW/AJPW angle, there's no reason to bring in foreigners right now. A lot of guys are reaching out to AJPW also, but they're not really familiar with any of the new talent. Motoko Baba apparently ain't keeping tabs, so if you haven't worked for AJPW before in the past, she doesn't really know who anyone is and therefore, they're not really interested. Not to mention, AJPW has its own struggles right now. Same with FMW, which is working on a shoestring budget. NOAH can afford to bring people in, but Misawa only wants to bring in a select few foreigners that he knows well and feels comfortable dealing with (as you can see, the deaths of WCW and ECW are about to put a lot of people out of work).

- There's been a rumor going around that Jim Cornette is planning to start up a new promotion in California using Japanese wrestlers. Dave says no truth to it at all and that Cornette is actually working his dream job right now in OVW. He works with hungry young wrestlers who are eager to learn, he gets to book television and house shows, and doesn't have to deal with the pressure of turning a profit. And best of all, it's virtually no travel for him since all the shows are in the Louisville area where he lives.

- Sable is filming a role in an upcoming movie called "Corky Romano" starring Chris Kattan and Peter Falk.


- XPW ran its first show in months, and it featured the debut of New Jack, who cut a promo talking about how he quit ECW. A lot of people were surprised to see New Jack work the show since he was so involved in the ECW vs. XPW brawl several months ago at the ECW PPV, where he attacked several XPW wrestlers and crew.

- RVD appeared on the Observer Live radio show and talked about why he appeared at the recent ECW PPV. He said he and Heyman worked out a deal for him to be paid for that appearance as a one-time thing and that their other issues regarding past due payments are still unresolved. He said he has no interest in working an indie schedule and wants to sign full-time with someone. He would prefer to stay in ECW if their money situation ever miraculously gets worked out but he was realistic about that and says he knows it's probably never going to happen. His agent has had meetings with WWF but RVD himself hasn't met with them yet. As for WCW, he said he hasn't spoken with Eric Bischoff in a long time.

- More bad news on the TV front for ECW, as their regularly scheduled show didn't air in Philadelphia either.

- At the PPV, Rhino, who is the ECW TV champion, cut a promo saying he didn't want the TV title (because the company didn't have TV anyway) and wanted the world title. So even though he's the TV champion, he didn't have the belt. The reason is because someone stole the actual belt a few weeks ago so they don't have it anymore. (Fun fact, not only was Rhino the final ECW world champion, a lot of people don't remember that he was also the final TV champion. He was a double-champion when the company folded).

- Missy Hyatt worked the ECW PPV because she has a new book coming out and is trying to get back into wrestling again to promote it.

- ECW held two shows this week, the first in Poplar Bluff, MO in front of about 1,200 fans and they did bring cameras and the show was taped, though it's unknown if any of the footage will air (it didn't. Hey, WWE Network, 'sup on adding this to the Hidden Gems section?). A bunch of ECW's top stars missed the show. RVD only came back for the PPV and was never scheduled to appear, but Jerry Lynn, Steve Corino, Kid Kash, Dawn Marie, Simon Diamond, Johnny Swinger, Big Sal, Chris Hamrick, Balls Mahoney, Mikey Whipwreck, Roadkill, and more all missed it as well. Word is Corino and Heyman had a falling out, with Corino asking for his release and was pulled from the show. There was also heat on Corino because Heyman wanted him to blade at the PPV but when Corino found out he was only getting a check for one week's backpay, he refused. A lot of the talent drove to these 2 shows because ECW couldn't afford to fly them out.

- The second ECW show this week was a few hundred miles away in Pine Bluff, AR and it was weird because it seemed to many people that this might be the last ECW show. After it was over, all the wrestlers did a big farewell together in the ring and everyone backstage was said to be crying and saying their goodbyes. Tommy Dreamer, who was in charge of running the shows, said they still plan to hold their scheduled PPV in March, but no one seems to be buying that. If this was indeed the final ECW show, it's weird that it happened in a middle-of-nowhere town in a market that ECW has no presence in, with half the roster missing and Heyman not even there. If this really is the end for ECW, Dave wishes they would have a final show at the ECW Arena. Right now, since Heyman is still out wheeling and dealing with networks and investors and trying to save the company, no one wants to admit that this might be the end. Anyway, the main event of this show saw Justin Credible beat Sandman in a regular match. Afterwards, they restarted it as a hardcore match, and Sandman won. After the show was over, both men hugged in the ring, despite their feud. Tommy Dreamer then came to the ring with a trash can filled with beers and the entire locker room hung out together in the ring and drank beers and hugged and cried while the fans cheered.

- And that, ladies and gentlemen, was indeed the final show for ECW. I legitimately got goosebumps writing this. I grew up a wrestling fan, but unfortunately, I never got to experience the real ECW. I lived in Tennessee so I certainly never got to go to a show. I would have killed to be able to go to an ECW Arena show in the mid-90s. I knew about ECW. I saw pictures and read articles about them all the time in the wrestling magazines I used to obsessively buy, but I never had a way to watch them. The TV show wasn't syndicated in Memphis at the time. Then I would occasionally read about them on the internet, but this is late 90s, so it wasn't like I could just pull up Youtube and watch. Eventually they got the national TV deal on TNN but by then, ECW was past its glory days. And to be honest, I never watched that show either. I was 17-years-old and was dating my first real serious girlfriend. I damn sure wasn't staying home on Friday nights to watch wrestling like some kind of NEEEEEERD! So I only occasionally saw bits and pieces. I bought a couple of DVDs in 2000/2001-ish, mostly just "best of" stuff. It was great but I also hadn't followed along weekly so the storylines and stuff were lost on me. My point is, for the most part, I missed ECW's original run entirely and I've always regretted it. But doing these Rewinds has actually been almost like living through it all again. With this issue, I have now read and recapped every single day of ECW's entire run, learned more about the company than I ever knew existed, and learned to appreciate the absolute genius that is Paul Heyman even more. ECW was amazing and getting to relive it vicariously through the Observer has been an absolute pleasure.

- Hulk Hogan was on the Bubba the Love Sponge show again and was joking about Mark Madden being fired. Hogan implied that Madden's firing decision was made by Bischoff but didn't outright say so.

- With the WCW sale all but done (lol), the hiring freeze appears to be over. The company has reached out to Michael Modest, Christopher Daniels, and others this week to have talks with them. Word is they're also interested in ECW stars Tajiri, Super Crazy, Kid Kash and announcer Joey Styles.

- In a staggering example of WCW's ability to continually kick themselves directly in the balls, there's bad news in Australia. Nitro is being moved to Wednesday nights. The reason this is bad news is because she show will have competition....from Thunder. Yup. Both Nitro and Thunder will now air on Wednesday nights in Australia, on separate channels, going head-to-head with each other.

- Mick Foley's wife recently gave birth to their 3rd child, Mickey Jr. last week. Foley is also working on finishing his 2nd book which covers other parts of his career not covered in the first book as well as everything that's happened since the first book was published. It also is expected to defend the WWF against some of the PTC's arguments.

- Jim Ross did an interview and was asked about RVD and Jerry Lynn. Surprisingly, Ross seemed totally dismissive of RVD, saying WWF only has mild interest in him and if he can get an offer elsewhere, he should take it. Ross said there's a perception out there about RVD having a bad attitude and said no one from WWF has actually met him yet, they've only met with his agent, so until they get to know him personally and see what they think about him, they're not in a hurry to bring him in. Dave mentioned an incident during the 1997 ECW/WWF angle when both RVD and Sabu refused to do jobs to WWF stars on Raw, which certain people in WWF haven't forgotten. As for Lynn, Ross confirmed they're definitely interested in him, but made it clear that WWF won't be signing either man until the ECW situation works itself out one way or another. Basically, until Heyman throws in the towel and says ECW is dead, they're not going to start poaching his stars. That being said, Dave thinks if Eric Bischoff starts offering contracts to these guys, he wouldn't be surprised to see WWF change their tune on that real quick.

[+] 1 user Likes Peezy's post
i started watching ecw in 1997 on sportstime ohio. it was on at 2am on saturday nights. we used to have a sleepover at someone's house & stay up to watch it.

my parents had a descrambler/black box that got all cable & ppv channels (plus porn LOL ) so we watched all of the ppvs at my house, along with wwf & wcw.

it was a great time as a teenager & lots of memories. i did watch ecw on tnn too, but once again, with friends. we weren't the popular folks, so no qualms with staying in & getting high while watching wrestling. plus n64 wwf wrestlemania... many hours spent on wrestling. now, barely watch it & catch up by reading dirt sheets.
[Image: 156961414337277625?161568168]
[+] 1 user Likes User Name's post
I wanted one of those boxes so fucking bad when I was younger! I envy you for having that!

My family moved in 1996 to a small city with a terrible cable provider. They didn't even offer PPV in our area. I missed out on so many key WWF, WCW, and ECW PPV's up until around 1999. It took my parents divorcing for us to move a few miles away, get satellite, and have access to PPV's again. Then we started throwing parties with anywhere from 5 to 15 of our friends would show up. Such good times.

Back in the day I was only able to catch a few bits and pieces of ECW. Some tape trader put it on an access station at like 1am or something but I was 11 or so at the time and didn't really "get into it." On behalf of my older brother, I convinced my Mom to order the first ever ECW PPV for his birthday. He wasn't clamoring for it and his birthday was also the week prior...but it worked! After that I only got to see it in magazines and random tapes until it eventually came to TNN...and by that point it wasn't anywhere near the same. WWF and WCW had already gotten their best talents, the business was in a decline, and the network neutered the vibe beyond recognition.
[Image: WmfNhHX.png]
[+] 1 user Likes Chris's post
it was the best $150 they ever spent in my opinion LOL

the guy they bought it from had stacks of them, but when digital cable came in 2002 here, that was the end Frown
[Image: 156961414337277625?161568168]
I’m in the same boat as others. I couldn’t catch ECW until about 2000/2001 when they were on TNN, I lived in florida at the time. Even then, I didn’t watch it cause I just never remembered to. I wish I could go back and tell myself to watch it.

I never knew that the Sid leg break was so “recent”! I remember seeing that clip back then, had no idea it happened in 2001. I always figured it was a mid 90’s thing.
Where at in Florida? Did you have the Sunshine Network?

Florida was actually the first place they really expanded to outside of Philly. They were all over TV there in the mid-90s and frequently ran shows there too.

Totally off topic and none of this matters but as a friend I'm just curious: where all have you lived Zack and what were the reasons behind each move?
[Image: WmfNhHX.png]
When I first started posting on the RealJuggalos messageboard and SFU, I was in Orlando, FL.

I was born in Dallas, TX in 1986. We lived there til I was about 3 I believe, then moved outside of Lubbock, TX into a house my mom’s parents had built.

We stayed there until I was 6, then moved to Tulsa, OK for dad’s job.

Stayed there until I was 11 and moved to Eden Prairie, MN (suburb of Minneapolis) when my parents divorced. I went with my dad and he moved up there for work.

We moved down to Orlando shortly before I turned 15 as that’s where my stepmoms close family were.

Stayed there until I moved out on my own for the first time at 19, I moved to a small FL town called Zephyrhills. It’s close to Tampa.

Moved back to orlando and back in with my family when I was 21 with the intent of going to college (spoiler: NOPE).

Moved back out when I was 23, back to Zephyrhills and back in with friends.

Eventually met my ex wife online, she came out to visit me, ended up staying because we both didn’t want her to go and she didn’t have school/job to return to at the time. We then both moved to Ridgecrest, CA at the end of 2010 to be with her family.

Ridgecrest is a small isolated desert town that primarily exists due to China Lake navy base. They test weapons and shit.

We moved to Tulsa in 2013 to be closer to my mom and sister who stayed here after my parents divorced, and also to have better career opportunities. It’s worked out well for both of us.

I’ve moved around a few times since 2013 but always in the local area. As it is now, I don’t have any desire to move away. I like it here, have a great job with future upward potential, my ex also is in great career shape here working for the local community college and is finishing up her project coordinator certification, but she wants to stay out here too and that keeps my son near me too.

The only reason I’d ever consider moving is if she moved - I don’t want to be a long distance dad. But practically speaking, I don’t know that I’d be able to score another job like this if I moved so I’m glad she wants to stay here too.

As for the sunshine network, honestly I don’t remember. Probably though. As a side bar, I did watch short lived promotion MLW with Joey Styles as it’s commentator and lots of former ECW guys around 2001/2002. I think there’s another MLW around these days (or maybe they survived all this time?) but that’s where I first saw CW Anderson, Steve Corino, Sonjay Dutt, etc.
[+] 1 user Likes Zack T's post
ECW was on some obscure ass station, I think WADL, at like 130 in the morning, I remember a friend taping it and we would watch it after school on Monday afternoons.
[Image: Chaos.png]

I watched ECW here and there, we had it on Sunshine Network and later TNN. WrestlePalooza hooked me. Bigelow vs New Jack? I think.

Even went to a taping in Feb 2000. They taped two nights worth. Was pissed because RVD had broken his leg like the week or two weeks prior. Got to see Tommy Dreamer vs Mikey Whipwreck, buncha other shit and Mike Awesome vs Tanaka in the mainevent. One of the most fun events I have seen live.
MLW died but was resurrected by some of the same people. It has better production values than anyone outside of WWE/NXT. It isn't a bad company but it needs to change a few things and lock down some of its stars.

I'm about 40 minutes from Eden Prarie. Knew you lived in CA and OK but wasn't aware of the rest of it. Must be nice to settle a bit.
[Image: WmfNhHX.png]
I started watching ecw in 96 as a friend of mine had a satellite and taped each episodes which he would then bring over to my house. When he became less reliable I got my own satellite (Primestar represent!) so I could watch it each week.

Dangish, you brought up RVD breaking his leg. He shot a shoot interview earlier that day and I was able to call in and talk to him. He had just been named #2 in the PWI 500 (back when I really thought that list mattered lol) and we talked about that.
[+] 1 user Likes sanderz1's post
Ohhhh shiiiit Chris its fuckin cold up there. I liked Minnesota a lot though, other than that.
Since we're on the subject, I managed to track down the footage of ECW's last show. It's the old "Fancam" videos they used to do so it's not much more than a couple of handheld camcorders from the 1990s. But it's the whole show, plus the in-ring beer drinking celebration at the end.


[+] 1 user Likes Peezy's post
Yeah, when RF Video used to sell EVERYTHING ECW, they had it on DVD.

WWE need ti really release a lot of the non-TV ECW events. The old Heatwaves, Cyberslams and It Ain't Seinfelds and shit
[Image: Chaos.png]

[+] 1 user Likes Ceallach's post

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)