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Of Possible Futures- The Monday Night Wars...

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Thanks for the kind words and well wishes, folks. We are home from hospital so work can keep going, just intermittently. In the mean time I guess I should announce the rules and tease the prize for the PICK 'EM CONTEST.


Pick em's will run from now til Wrestlemania. Each episode of Nitro/Raw and any PPVs will be in play, but not the Saturday Night B-shows. Each match correct is one point, and for a BONUS POINT predict who will have the better Monday Night show (based on OVERALL GRADE). All predictions will have to be in before that week's Nitro is posted, or the PPV if that's the case. I'll try to give a warning post a few hours in advance. (Consider this the warning for week one Monday Night Wars)


The prize? Well, I'm not going to outright tell you, because that'd be a spoiler, but let me just say there is a worker I'm using the editors god-like-power to keep at bay for a while, and the winner of the Pick 'Em will get to decide where they land! This person could end up being a MAJOR PLAYER, so the winner's choice could possibly swing the tide of the Monday Night War!


So get your picks in (and don't forget the bonus point!)

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Congrats on the baby! No better feeling than being a Dad!


WCW Nitro


Rey Mysterio Jr. vs Kidman


Juventud Guerrera vs Dean Malenko


Goldberg vs Mortis


Steiner Brothers vs The Flock (Hammer and Sick Boy)


Scott Hall vs Ric Flair



WWF Monday Night RAW


Goldust vs Bob Holly


Headbangerz vs Nation of Domination (D'Lo and Kama)


Savio Vega vs Ahmed Johnson


Marc Mero vs Bart Gunn


The Rock & Farooq vs Vader & Ken Shamrock

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WCW Monday Nitro, Week One, December, 1997


Live from the Rupp Arena in Kentucky your hosts are Tony Schivone, Bobby Heenan, and Mike Tenay. They greet us with the usual pyro and then the NWO’s music hits, cutting them off. The whole crew hit the ring, led by Hollywood Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. They all look in incredibly high spirits, especially Kevin Nash, returning after a short absence. Syxx is last out, carrying a Canadian flag. Bischoff takes the mic, practically beaming.


“What a crazy night last night was, huh?” he says to a chorus of boos.


He goes on to cut a promo about some “big news” about the NWO’s “newest signing” he will be ready to announce very soon. The crowd, not missing a beat, begins chanting for Bret Hart. Everyone in the ring plays this up, and Hogan takes the mic.


“You know something, the NWO is world-wide, brother, and we are the top of the charts for professional wrestling. We only want the best of the best, and it seems like we may be adding the best here real soon, if you know what I mean, dude.”


The usual NWO suspects run through a quick-but-not-really-quick spiel of their catchphrases, all not so subtly hinting that Bret will be joining, but no one using his name outright. They end the segment by belting out a horrific rendition of “Oh Canada” to ‘set the mood for their new man’.


Segment rating: 100- The crowd was super hot for this, obviously picking up what they were putting down.


Match One- Rey Mysterio Jr. vs Kidman


Total spotfest here, but definitely an exciting way to kick off Nitro. Rey is obviously the more polished of the two perfomers, and the result in this one was never in any doubt. Kidman still got his fair share of offense in, but Rey was the star of the match, winning with his sprinboard ‘rana.


WINNER: Rey Mysterio, Jr.


Rating: 67


After a commercial break we have a pre-taped vignette of Raven, alone in a dark room, set to ominous music.


“They say you should judge the mettle of a man not by his friends, but by his enemies. You look at Raven, you see my Flock, you judge us because we don’t look the way people should look. You look at my Flock and you hate us, you revile us, you say we don’t belong here in WCW. Well I invite you to look again. Look at my enemies! Bill Goldberg, you come in to WCW like a lion and fed on lesser prey. Chris Benoit, you call yourself the crippler, but you’re nothing but a sociopath in tights. It’s why I respect you. But don’t think for one minute Goldberg, don’t think for a single moment, Benoit, that this ends anything but badly for you. There is a reckoning coming to WCW. A reckoning starting at Starrcade. And no one is safe. Quote the Raven… Nevermore.”


Rating: 90


We head back to the ring for Match Two: Dean Malenko vs. Juventud Guerrera


Another cruiserweight contest keeps us rolling, this one a classic high-flier vs. grappler combination that has really been Dean Malenko’s bread and butter since joining WCW. Back and forth action here, with neither man gaining an upper hand until Juvi takes a shortcut, poking Deano-Machino in the eye. Juvi hits a couple of flashy moves and goes for the kill with the 450 but misses, landing on his own knees. Dean jumps right on the chance, hitting a knee-breaker and dragon screw before immediately locking in the Cloverleaf for the submission victory!


WINNER: Dean Malenko


Rating: 71


We then throw to “Mean” Gene Okerlund in the back, introducing “The Total Package” Lex Luger. Luger has words for Buff Bagwell, and it’s every Lex Luger promo you’ve ever heard in your life. He even does the thumb-and-index-finger-line thing. A couple of minutes in Buff runs in and attacks him to the shock of no one. He lays Luger out and poses.


Rating: 72


Back from another break and we’re treated to a Glacier vignette. Blood still running cold. Nothing exciting to see here.


Rating: 38


Match Three is next as Goldberg takes on Mortis. This is one step above a total squash, as Goldberg takes Mortis apart with some stiff kicks before hitting the Spear and Jackhammer. Mortis sold like a champ and made Goldberg look even more dominant.


Winner: Goldberg


Rating: 58


We then get words from Ric Flair, who has thoughts on the impending Sting vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan match.


“Nobody knows the Stinger better than I do. We’ve been up and down the roads, beating the hell out of each other for ten years now. We’ve been teammates and we’ve been rivals. I know the man better than anyone in this company. But for the last year the man I know hasn’t been around. The Sting I know can’t do anything but fight for what he believes in! You get him fired up and there’s nothing that can contain him. Nobody! But for the last year he hasn’t been fighting, he’s been sneaking around the rafters, watching this NWO come and decimate WCW, the company we’ve fought for! Bled for! Beat the HELL out of each other EVERY SINGLE NIGHT for! But all this new Sting, this Crow, does is watch and point! I don’t know this Sting.”


Flair stops, taking a deep breath, composing himself.


“But I do know this, Hollywood Hulk Hogan. Sting and I have battled and bled and fought for a decade, but we’ve never hated each other. In that time I’ve seen him fight monsters and crazy people, but he’s never hated them. BUT HOGAN, KNOW THIS! When I look in to the eyes of that man, that new Sting I don’t recognize, I look in those eyes and I don’t see the man I know. I look in those eyes and I see the same thing you do Hogan! I see HATRED!”


He’s gone full Flair now, staring and shouting straight in to the camera.


“STINGER! I don’t know what’s going through that mind of yours, and I don’t care. This isn’t about you! This isn’t about me! THIS IS ABOUT TAKING BACK THAT TITLE ONCE AND FOR ALL! It’s about RIDDING WCW OF THE CANCER ONCE AND FOR ALL! HOGAN! I HOPE YOU’RE READY! BECAUSE IF I KNOW STING AT ALL, YOU ARE IN FOR THE FIGHT OF YOUR LIFE! WOOOOOO!”


Rating: 92


We go to commercial and come back to the ring where Randy Savage has a microphone. He starts to cut a nonsensical promo, not about much at all, when DDP slides in to the ring after coming through the crowd and nails him with a Diamond Cutter! DDP doesn’t say anything, just throws up the Diamond Cutter sign and heads back through the crowd. Crowd was WILD for this.


Rating: 99


Back to the ring for Match Four: The Steiner Brothers vs. The Flock (Sick Boy and Hammer)


This was, not to put too fine a point on it, legalized murder. The Steiner’s teased a little bit of dissension, mostly due to the ringside presence of Ted Dibiase, but it wasn’t enough to give the Flock a chance at the match. Scott takes the win after a vicious Steiner-line on Hammer. Rick isn’t in the mood to celebrate with Scott and Ted, however.


WINNERS: The Steiner Brothers


Rating: 62


We take a break and come back and once again Mean Gene is conducting an interview, this time with Booker T. Gene asks for his thoughts on the future of WCW with the upcoming Starrcade PPV. Booker cuts a surprisingly decent promo about how Sting isn’t just doing it for the ‘old guard’, but for ‘the next generation’ of WCW, the guys like Chris Benoit, the guys like Goldberg, and the guys like himself. He says that Sting has always been “The Franchise” and that he’s going to kick Hollywood Hulk Hogan’s ass. This gets a big pop, but also draws out Hogan, who takes a mic and basically calls Booker T a tag-team wrestler who will never win anything without his older brother. They tease a possible confrontation, with Hogan saying “If you want to find out what the NWO is all about, Brother, keep running your mouth.”


Rating: 94


Main Event: Scott Hall vs. Ric Flair


They gave this one a lot of time, building slowly, and it was far and away the match of the show. They definitely tried to give this one a ‘big match feel’ and were mostly successful, the only real downside being that Hall and Flair had no real issue coming in, so the crowd seemed to be waiting for the inevitable interference, which was provided by Kevin Nash who hit a big boot and powerbomb while Hall distracted the ref, letting his partner get the win. Still a very good match, but the finish definitely felt choreographed.


WINNER: Scott Hall


Show ends with a HUGE post-match brawl, as just about every major player from both WCW and the NWO get involved, with the Giant pairing off with Nash, continuing their feud. The NWO have the upper hand until Sting appears, bat in hand, and lays everyone in Black and White out. The WCW crew try to embrace him, but he keeps his distance, instead just staring daggers at Hogan.


Rating: 94


Overall Show Rating: 89

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WWF Monday Night RAW- Week One, December 1997


Live from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Show opens with the usual pyro and ballyhoo and this Ontario crowd is HOT. Lots of Canadian flags, signs for the Hart Foundation, and the crowd is already chanting “We Want Bret” before anything has even happened. To say they are irate as Shawn Michaels’ music hits would be a massive understatement, as the place ERUPTS in boos. HBK has to dodge garbage being thrown at him as he enters the ring and grabs a mic.


“What, not happy to see me?” he snarks. The boos only intensify from there. Shawn then proceeds to cut a scathing promo on Bret, Canada, and the WWF fans in general. He says he is glad that he finally beat Bret bad enough to send him running for ‘the old folk’s home down south’. After a couple minutes of the usual shtick he then pivots, saying there’s one thing he wants to clear up.


“Lots of people who think they’re pretty smart seem to think that the only reason I’m champion is because Vince and I made some sort of deal. I’m here to tell you that I am nobody’s puppet, I do nobody’s dirty work, and I’m nobody’s fall guy!” The live crowd doesn’t entirely know what to make of this barb, which was aimed primarily at ‘smart’ fans, but continue to hurl abuse at the Champ. Shawn then calls on Vince to come out and “clear his name” and tell everyone that Shawn wasn’t in on whatever plan he had cooked up. Vince’s music hits but no one appears. Shawn appears put out by this, and the commentators speculate on if this is for real or just an act. Shawn ends up saying he’ll “get the answers one way or the other” and heads to the back.


Rating: 95


Back from break with Match One: Goldust vs. Bob Holly


Pretty standard opening match, nothing special or exciting, but the two guys have great chemistry. These two have no rivalry going in to this one, so the crowd isn’t super in to it, but they are both solid workers and busted butt to put on a decent match. Goldust gets the win after a Curtain Call.


Winner: Goldust


Rating: 64


We then cut to the back where Marc Mero and Sable are getting ready for their match later. He tells her to “stop showing (him) up”, with all the acting ability of a piece of carved wood. Sable is hot, and the crowd cares way more about her than Mero, and it’s not close.


Rating: 69- No comment.


Back from commercial we have Match Two: The Nation of Domination (D’Lo Brown and Kama Mustafa) vs. The Headbangers


Sub-par match that really showcases the shallowness of the WWF tag division and lack of in-ring quality in the WWF undercard in general. Very basic tag match with no real heat, though the commentators tried to get it over as “two young teams trying to move up the ranks”. Match is pretty even, as in evenly unimpressive, and the Nation get the win after a Lo-Down frog splash.


Winners: Nation of Domination


Rating: 53


We then head to a pre-taped vignette with The Undertaker, emanating from a dark room that could be a church of some sort, or maybe a funeral parlor. Slickly produced, this video is the perfect example of what the WWF do well. The mood is dark, ominous as you’d expect. Taker doesn’t look in to the camera, rather it shoots him from profile or behind as he talks.


“Paul Bearer, Kane… you speak of the past as if it holds no power. You speak of of revealing secrets like there are no repercussions to your actions. Paul Bearer I would think that you of all people would know not to speak of things that are beyond your comprehension. But it appears your lust for revenge has blinded you to the truths you once knew, and instead you speak of these things that are so far beyond you. You can not undo what you have done, Paul Bearer. You have opened Pandora’s Box and unleashed The Darkness. I have sworn that I will not fight my own flesh and blood. I will not fight Kane. The fires that have scarred him have not burned hot enough to undo the bond of blood. But Paul Bearer, your fate will not be as kind. You have unleashed The Darkness. And The Darkness will consume you until you Rest… In… Peace…”


Rating: 93


We come back from a commercial with Match Three: Savio Vega vs. Ahmed Johnson


These two guys try to get a fiery brawl going but it never quite catches steam, as the crowd just doesn’t buy Savio as a threat. They do some so-so fighting around ringside before Savio cheats to take over and controls for a couple of minutes. Ahmed makes the come-back in short order and takes the win clean with the Pearl City Plunge.


Winner: Ahmed Johnson


Rating: 61


We then get a shot in the back of DX in their locker room, conspiring. Triple H and Shawn talk more smack about the Harts, this time taking pot-shots at Owen, and say they’ve got to get Vince to come out and clear the air. Chyna stands there, looking more menacing than either of the guys.


Rating: 99 Suffice it to say the Canadian crowd HATES DX.


We go to commercial and come back to be greeted by Sunny, who comes out hawking the 1998 Ladies of the WWF calendar, of which she is the cover star! Total filler segment, but hey, hot chicks.


Rating: 65


Speaking of hot chicks, here comes Sable, accompanying her man for Match Four- Marc Mero vs. Bart Gunn


Another relatively nothing match. Crowd doesn’t care about Gunn at all and only cares about Mero when he’s interacting with Sable. Short match that is really an excuse to get Sable out there, with Mero taking the win after his TKO.


Winner: Marc Mero


Rating: 53


We then cut to the back as we get a quick segment as the New Age Outlaws attack the Legion of Doom in their locker room. They lay out the legendary tag team with the Tag Titles then put the boots to them. Simple and effective way to continue their feud.


Rating: 65


We go to commercial and come back to Paul Bearer and Kane, somewhere in the bowels of the arena. Bearer cuts his usual over the top promo on the Undertaker while Kane lurks menacingly in the background.


“Undertaker you speak of darkness… you may think you know darkness, but you forget one thing. Ooooohhhhh yesssss… You forget that fire pushes back the darkness. Fire reveals all… You may say that you will not fight your flesh and blood, but the fire erases the flesh! The fire boils the blood! The fire has left nothing but hatred and rage, Undertaker. And the fire will consume you…”


Rating: 79


MAIN EVENT: The Nation of Domination (The Rock/Farooq) vs. Ken Shamrock and Vader


Somewhat thrown together main event here, but a solid performance from all involved, if nothing spectacular. Main stories advanced are the dissension in the Nation and the Rock vs Shamrock subplot. Rock and Shamrock were definitely the standouts in this one, and Rock is looking like a major player. Match had a good amount of time, everyone got their moments to shine. Finish came when Farooq nailed Vader with a chair while Rock was distracting the ref. Rock got the pin after that, following his Rock Bottom, and proceeded to celebrate like he won the whole match single-handedly, since he didn’t see the chairshot. Farooq was not best pleased, but was happy enough with the win.


Winners: The Rock and Farooq


Rating: 80


One more commercial and we’re back for our final segment, as Stone Cold Steve Austin hits the ring, mic in hand, and calls out Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Vince McMahon, and anyone who wants to fight. He calls HBK a paper champion who needs the bosses help to get it done, and demands Vince come out and explain himself. Once again the boss doesn’t show, but DX does, jumping Austin and laying him out to a chorus of boos as the show goes off air.


Rating: 100


Overall Rating: 85


Up next: The Dirtsheets weigh in, and the first pick’em standings!

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Enjoyed it, one recommendation. Even one pic a show adds tremendously to the look and feel of these especially the historical feds.


Thanks for the feedback! I'm definitely a words-guy, but I can see if I can selectively punch these up going forward. Is photobucket still the go-to, or has imugur surpassed them?

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The Wrestling Observer Newsletter-


The final weekend of November, 1997 will go down as one of the craziest, most shocking, and possibly most important weekends in Professional Wrestling history. In a business so often filled with histrionics there is no hyperbole in saying that the events of the last 48 hours could well have altered the entire course of the industry forever.


In the main event of the WWF’s annual Thanksgiving week spectacular Survivor Series Bret Hart lost the WWF Heavyweight title in bizarre and controversial circumstances when veteran referee Earl Hebner rang the bell, claiming Hart submitted, when he obviously didn’t. Shawn Michaels was awarded the title and beat a hasty retreat to the locker-room, while Bret went in to what can only be described as a rage in the ring. Vince McMahon called for the bell to be rung from his position at ringside, and was the obvious target of Hart’s ire. The finish of the match appears to be either a real-life double cross the likes of which has not been seen in the business since the heyday of the territory system, or the greatest worked shoot angle of all time.


The scene backstage in the immediate aftermath of the show, which went off the air with minutes of Pay Per View time still remaining, have been described to me as ‘pure chaos’ and ‘mass confusion’. Though we are unclear on the details of what exactly happened, multiple sources have confirmed that there was a physical altercation in the locker room after the show between Vince McMahon and Bret Hart. Hart is reported to have a broken hand, and McMahon sustained an injury to his ankle.


Hart had one foot out the door to WCW, who have massive changes afoot as well, which we will get to in a moment, and this confirmed his WWF exit. The biggest question coming out of the night, at least among those I spoke to backstage, was that of who all was involved in the “screw-job”, as it has already started to be known. McMahon and Hebner are easy to answer, but the involvement of Shawn Michaels, Gerald Brisco, Pat Patterson (the agent for the match), and others is more up in the air. Michaels, we have learned, is denying any knowledge of the plan to everyone who will listen. The agents, as one would imagine, have been tight lipped. Bruce Prichard was running Gorilla Position for the show, and reports describe him as being ‘shocked and confused’, leading many in the back to believe he was not aware of the plan, as he is not that good of an actor.


Regardless of who all knew in advance, McMahon was left with the threat of a complete insurection in the locker room in the immediate aftermath, as major stars Mark Calloway (the Undertaker), Steve Williams (Austin), and Mick Foley (Mankind) were all incredibly upset by the situation. Calloway in particular is said to have “planted himself outside of Vince’s office” and demanded an explanation. He apparently received one, as he showed up to RAW the next night with no issues, as did Austin. Foley, however, flew home the night of the pay per view, expressing that he didn’t know if he could work for a man who would do that to anyone, let alone his champion. McMahon apparently called Foley either that night or the next morning, and things were smoothed over. Foley was told to stay home from last night’s RAW, but is expected to be back moving forward. There is no reported heat on him.


McMahon held a rare ‘all hands’ meeting the next day before RAW, where he addressed the situation for the entire roster. The mood of the room was described to me as “grim” and “resigned” by two different sources. The phrase ‘best for business’ was used several times, and at the end of the meeting there were no concerns raised (which doesn’t, of course, mean that none were held).


Another topic of discussion at the WWF’s meeting was the other huge item of news from the weekend, this one relating to WCW, which somehow managed to do something even more shocking than double crossing their world champion. After checking with several non-industry sources I can confirm that Ted Turner and his TimeWarner company have divested themselves entirely of World Championship Wrestling, selling to 31 year old banking scion Logan Jackson and his consortium Infinite Hallwayb Media. It is unknown at this time the exact terms of the sale, but it estimated to be in the eight-figure range. Also unknown are the circumstances that led to Turner, a self-proclaimed die hard wrestling fan, electing to sell, but rumors indicate that pressure from within the company finally got to him, while others are saying there is some sort of situation in his personal life that is requiring an influx of funds. Whatever the reasons for the sale, it is official, Ted Turner no longer owns WCW.


Not much is known about WCW’s new owner, though I have received a few reports of interactions people have had with him, mainly at small indy shows in the north-east. How he will approach running WCW is at this time a complete unknown, and looks like it will stay that way for the immediate future, as sources have reported to me that the plan is to keep “business as usual” until Starrcade, then begin any major changes after the new year, at least as far as creative or contracts go.


There are, however, two changes that are being implemented immediately, according to sources. The first is the founding of Power Plant Pro Wrestling, WCW’s first official developmental territory. Early reports indicate there will be contracts offered to several indy performers in an effort to tie them down for the future, as well as ensure they are working and training regularly. Reports also indicate that several workers on the WCW roster are being considered as potential candidates to be sent down for seasoning. Reports that Les Thatcher is running the day to day in collaboration with Jerry Jarrett as booker are thus far unconfirmed.


The second change is an expanded drug testing policy, with clear repercussions for failure. The talent were told this by Eric Bischoff in an all-hands meeting before Nitro, and while the exact terms and repercussions have not been made clear yet, Bischoff was apparently very clear in stating that it would apply equally to all talent, regardless of pay and position on the card. This is a nice thought and good PR, it has never been achievable in practice, and could be a sign of Jackson’s naivete.


Bischoff’s position appears safe for now, although how it will change remains to be seen. The same can be said for much of the WCW roster, including top stars Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Sting, and Ric Flair, all of whom have expressed concerns privately about a change in ownership.


We will have more on both of these major stories as they develop.


UP NEXT: Pick Em results for week one and quick hit news!

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The Wrestling Observer Newsletter Part 2


Continuing on from our previous issue, here are several news items that flew under the radar with the bigger stories going on:




• In the aftermath of the Montreal incident both Jim Neidhart and Davey Boy Smith have left the WWF. Neidhart was on a per-night deal, so his release was a formality, and Smith quickly came to terms on a buy-out of his remaining contract. This has led to much speculation on the eventual fate of Owen Hart, with current reports indicating that the WWF would like to keep him, despite the obvious issues involved with that. More as it develops.


• In direct response to WCW opening a developmental territory the WWF has formalized its existing relationship with Danny Davis’ Ohio Valley Wrestling promotion. Several contracts have been offered to wrestlers who have previously taken part in the Funkin’ Conservatory tryout camps, including Adam Copeland, Jay Reso, Matt Bloom, Andrew Martin, and Matt and Jeff Hardy.


• Tammy Sych (Sunny) was late to the WWF’s all-hands meeting, which got her a stern warning from management.


• Shawn Michaels, despite the magnifying glass he is currently under, appears to be unable to stop himself from spreading more discord in the WWF locker room, as he has continued his verbal war against Vader, causing many to distance themselves from the Colorado native.




• The first signings to Power Plant Pro Wrestling appear to be West Coast standouts Christopher Daniels, Michael Modest, and Donovan Morgan, as well as the Haas Brothers from the east coast. More are expected in the weeks ahead.


• Bob Armstrong and Chavo Guerrero Sr have been brought in to help run PPCW


• Several more luchadors are expected to be joining WCW after Starrcade, though many will likely be on per appearance contracts. Abysmo Negro has already been signed, as has Perro Aguayo Jr, though the latter may be heading for PPCW.


• New owner Logan Jackson appears to be aware that the backstage situation in WCW can only be described as horrific, as he’s scheduled meetings with several top talent to try to get on good terms with them, while also bringing in several veterans such as Johnny Rodz and Michael Hayes to act as agents, with a view to improving locker room cohesion.


• One major issue facing Jackson will be the tension between Kevin Nash and Paul Wight, better known as the Giant. This tension has intensified recently and Nash has begun waging a Shawn Michaels-like campaign against Wight.




DHK1989- 8/10

ElectricX- 9/10

Alpha2117- 9/10

Levinux- 6/10

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<blockquote data-ipsquote="" class="ipsQuote" data-ipsquote-username="infinitehallway" data-cite="infinitehallway" data-ipsquote-contentapp="forums" data-ipsquote-contenttype="forums" data-ipsquote-contentid="47389" data-ipsquote-contentclass="forums_Topic"><div>Thanks for the feedback! I'm definitely a words-guy, but I can see if I can selectively punch these up going forward. Is photobucket still the go-to, or has imugur surpassed them?</div></blockquote><p> </p><p> I think imgur is the go now. If you have facebook you can just log straight in and start no mucking around with signups etc. photobucket is more problematic I believe.</p>
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The next few days were a haze of air travel and meetings, as Jackson made good on his promise to meet with every member of the WCW roster, from the opening match luchadores to the main event players. Most had come to him, at his Atlanta-area hotel room where he was overseeing the transfer from the CNN center to the leased office space that would serve as temporary headquarters. The meetings had been positive, but exhausting.


Hogan had been the toughest meeting, just as Jackson knew it would be. He’d traveled, along with Bischoff, to Hogan’s Florida home that Thursday. Eric had laid the groundwork for him, or at least said he did, so Jackson went in feeling at least marginally confident. Hogan had a reputation for selfishness, but Jackson thought his long-term plan would appeal to the aging icon.


He had taken a good deal of convincing, but after a couple of hours and a few drinks he seemed on board. Bischoff, on the flight home, had praised his new boss for his skills in handling the notoriously difficult legend, saying that he didn’t expect Hogan to agree with Jackson’s vision after just one meeting.


The other ‘big names’ had all been much easier, all mainly concerned with knowing where they would fit in with the ‘new’ WCW. Flair had been the most paranoid, but Jackson was legitimately a huge fan, and assured WCW’s biggest icon he had nothing to worry about.


Jackson was most surprised by the massive amount of discontent many in the middle and undercard positions expressed to him. It was enlightening and worrying. Jackson had a short-list of ‘next big things’ and every single one of them had a complaint of some kind, mostly about the tribalism of the locker room, or the ‘glass ceiling’ under the previous regime. There was nothing Jackson could do at the moment, but it jumped to the top of his list.


The last meeting of the week was a bookend to his first. Bischoff knocked at the door of the hotel room and was summoned in.


“Well it was an interesting week,” Jackson began. Bischoff nodded like a good underling, sliding effortlessly in to the role. “Most of the boys seemed cautious, suspicious, but once I started asking their opinions most of them opened up.”


“Yeah,” Bischoff replied. “Most of the boys are going to be a little weary of saying too much. You’re an outsider, as far as the business is concerned.”


Jackson made a face, so Bischoff hastily continued.


“No offense. It’s just that…” Jackson held a hand up to silence him.


“No, no, you’re absolutely right. I’ll need to prove myself to the boys in the locker room just like they will have to prove themselves out in the ring…” he said, growing contemplative. “Let’s get a couple more agents, make sure that everyone, even the, what do you call them, curtain pullers?”


“Jerkers,” Bischoff corrected.


“Curtain jerkers know that there’s someone, either an agent or you or eventually me, that they can come to. It doesn’t matter if they’re not ‘the draw’, their work, their concerns still matter. We can’t just say that, we have to show it.”

Bischoff nodded. He’d been doing that a lot this week, and figured he’d be doing a lot more.


“Have you talked to Hulk?” Jackson asked, catching Bischoff off guard.


“Well, yeah. We speak just about every day. Why?”


“Just wondering if he’s getting cold feet about Starrcade. I honestly expected him to need more convincing.”


Bischoff had, in fact, spoken to Hogan about the finish to the year-end Pay Per View. Hogan was, as Jackson seemed to expect, having second thoughts. Bischoff had gone back and forth with him, trying to convince Hogan to trust the vision. He had met with only limited success.


Bischoff smiled his patented camera-dazzling smile at his new boss.


“No way boss, he’s all in!”


NEXT: The Saturday Night B-Block!

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The Saturday Night B-Block, the place to “B” on Saturday Night!


WCW Saturday Night results


The show opens with Alex Wright taking on the debuting former WWF tag team champion Rick Martel. Decent little match here but nothing to write home about. Alex Wright gets the win after his bridging German suplex.


Winner: Alex Wright


Rating: 58


Next we get a a pre-taped promo from The Giant, running down Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. Nothing of note here, as the Giant is still not a very good promo.


Rating: 71


Next up two lucadores trying to climb the Cruiserweight ranks as Ultimo Dragon takes on Psycosis. Solid back and forth match, helped by the great chemistry between these two. Neither man is super over with the crowd and there was no storyline coming in, so the match never hit a big peak, but was serviceable. Dragon gets the win with a Dragon Suplex.


Winner: Ultimo Dragon


Rating: 64


Following that we get a Buff Bagwell promo, who continues his issue with Lex Luger. Nothing much to report here.


Rating: 63


This is followed with another pre-taped Raven promo aimed at Goldberg and Chris Benoit, both of whom he and his Flock have issues with. Another well-produced, well delivered Raven promo here, promising pain and suffering to his enemies.


Rating: 76


Next up we see The Public Enemy take on John Nord and Barry Darsow, two ex WWF veterans who have somehow found themselves a home in WCW. Straightforward tag match with the heels getting heat on Grunge, who makes the hot tag to Rock. Easy win in the end for TPE.


Winners: The Public Enemy


Rating: 47


Next we get a Chris Jericho promo with Mean Gene. He cuts a typical white-meat babyface promo, “this is going to be my year” type of stuff that the crowd is not remotely interested in. Eddie Guerrero, our cruiserweight champion, comes out and mocks him, and the crowd doesn’t really care here either. Neither guy seemed to do well going unscripted.

Rating: 67


Then we get a Curt Henning pre-tape, where he runs down WCW in general and Booker T in particular. They may be hinting towards a story here.


Rating: 76


Speaking of Booker T he’s up next against Steven Regal in a solid match. These guys had a good bit of time and both got to show what they can do. This was a back and forth match with Booker getting the win after the Ax Kick.


Winner: Booker T

Rating: 71


Next we get a “Paid for by the New World Order” video with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. They do their usual spiel, running down Sting, Lex Luger, and the Giant, all set to the droning NWO music and shot in black and white. Nothing memorable here, but the usual solid mic work from the Outsiders.


Rating: 95


Next up is our MAIN EVENT as Chris Benoit takes on Perry Saturn for the TV Title! These two got enough time to go out and do a slow burn, putting on a very even, well-balanced match. Benoit has been in a feud with Raven, so there was some backstory coming in to this one, with the commentators pointing out how Raven has been running his mouth about The Crippler but ducking him, refusing to get in the ring himself.


Benoit lights up Saturn to start, letting out his frustration, before the former Army Ranger takes over after a good old fashioned thumb to the eye. Saturn throws him to the outside and they brawl around the ring, with Saturn keeping control. Saturn goes for the DVD once they get back in the ring but Benoit counters, nailing a SICK German suplex. They go back and forth for a few minutes, each unloading with big moves, before Benoit goes up top and misses the swan dive headbutt. Saturn again goes for the DVD, but Benoit counters in to the crossface and gets the win!


Winner and NEW TV champion: Chris Benoit

Rating: 73


The show ends with DDP and Randy Savage brawling all over the arena. The fight started in the locker room and spilled out in to the ring, then continued in to the crowd, who ate it up. Show goes off the air with the two of them still going at it, despite attempts to break them up!


Rating: 97


Overall Rating: 80- A solid if unspectacular show in-ring wise, but some very good promos and segments, mainly involving the NWO, made this a very good episode of the Mothership.





Sunny kicks off the “hottest Saturday night spot in the world” with a little dance and some innuendo.

Rating: 63


Opening match is TAKA over local talent Ace Steele. TAKA is still considered a jobber by the majority of the crowd and Steele is the definition of enhancement talent, so this match died a grizzly death despite having some quite good in ring work. TAKA gets the win after the Michinoku Driver.


Winner: TAKA


Rating: 14


We then get some pre-recorded comments from The Rock. He runs down Steve Austin and Ken Shamrock as only he can.


Rating: 86


Next up we have tag-team action as the New Blackjacks (Barry Windham and Justin Bradshaw) take on the Godwins. Standard tag match here with Bradshaw playing face in peril and eventually making the hot tag to Windham. Announce team spent most of the match talking about how both of these teams are looking to advance up the tag ranks. Blackjacks take the win after a pair of lariats on Henry Godwin.


Winners: The New Blackjacks

Rating: 48


Next up we see Sable come out and hawk the WWF Calendar for 1998.


Rating: 65


Our next match features “The Lethal Weapon” Steve Blackman taking on The Sultan. Nothing terrible here, which was a nice surprise, but nothing to write home about either. Blackman is a charisma suck, and while the Sultan has some potential his gimmick is woeful.


Sultan uses his size to keep in control for the majority of the match, hitting a couple of impressive looking slams, before Blackman uses his striking to chop the big man down and take control. Match ends with Blackman getting the victory with his big roundhouse kick to the side of the head.


Winner: Steve Blackman


Rating: 55


Overall Rating: 57- Dull show but nothing downright insulting.


Stay tuned for more news and notes, as well as Week Two of the Monday Night Wars!

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<p>Wrestling Observer Notes</p><p> </p><p>

With the sudden, drastic shift in the professional wrestling landscape many insiders are expecting a ‘talent arms race’ to break out, which would have a massive impact on the rest of the wrestling world, particularly ECW and the US Indy scene. The immediate effects of this are already beginning to show, as sources indicate that ECW mainstays The Dudley Boys have been offered contracts by one of the major companies, though Paul Heyman is trying to get them to stay. He is also hustling to get his main players under more permanent contracts, though the constantly cash-strapped promotion will hardly be able to match the financial clout of the Big Two.</p><p> </p><p>

It is something of a surprise, however, that the biggest battleground for new talent in the first week of this brave new world of wrestling is not the US Indy scene or ECW, but rather Mexico. Three huge signings have taken place, and much to the surprise of many, they have not all been by WCW. </p><p> </p><p>

<strong>WCW NOTES</strong></p><p> </p><p>

WCW struck first by inking a deal with one of the biggest names in Lucha Libre, El Hijo Del Santo. Son of the most famous luchador of all time, Santo, it is rumored that he will be debuting as Santo Jr. (the English translation of his name) in the next few weeks. His position on the card is unclear at this time</p><p> </p><p>

WCW have also signed so-cal indy darling Blitzkrieg, young luchador Perro Auguayo Jr, Jamie Noble, and CW Anderson to PPCW contracts. </p><p> </p><p>

Jushin “Thunder” Liger is being brought in for a run on a pay per appearance agreement. </p><p> </p><p>

There was a big commotion as the WCW Saturday Night TV taping. Before the show Kevin Nash decided to pick a fight with Tony Schivone of all people, eventually knocking Schivone for a loop. Nash was immediately brought to new owner Logan Jackson and hit with a heavy fine, as well as being told in no uncertain terms that his upper-card position was not a free pass to do whatever he wanted. Apparently the message was received as Nash was apologetic to Schivone after the incident, and even more surprisingly, didn’t complain about the decision. Schivone was happy with the decision as well, meaning Jackson appears to have successfully handled his first hurdle with the minefield that is the WCW locker room. </p><p> </p><p>

Immediately after the show Jackson was faced with another decision, as Eddie Guerrero failed a drug test, testing positive for unspecified “hard drugs”. Guerrero was apologetic, and was thankful for the opportunity to go to rehab and get himself straight. Jackson issued a memo to the entire organization that rehab will be an option presented to all full-time employees, so long as they are not actively working while impaired and endangering their fellow workers. This leaves the fate of the Cruiserweight title up in the air. </p><p> </p><p>

<strong>WWF NOTES</strong></p><p> </p><p>

The WWF has not traditionally been big on bringing in talent from south of the border, but the current wrestling climate seems to be forcing their hand. The interesting note is both wrestlers they’re pilfering from Mexico are actually Canadian. Sean Morley, who has been working as Steele in CMLL has been hired and is expected to debut directly on the main roster. Current reports indicate they’re planning a “modern day Ravishing Rick Rude” gimmick for him. </p><p> </p><p>

The other major signing is Ian Hodgkinson, who wrestles under the name Vampiro. He is a legitimate mega-star in Mexico, and his loss will be a huge hit to CMLL. WCW was rumored to be interested in him but real life heat between Hodgkinson and Konnan kept that from happening, as Konnan is WCW’s supplier of luchadores, and they could not risk that relationship. Plans for Vampiro, who will likely be renamed, are currently unknown, though he seems like a natural fit in to the Undertaker/Kane/Paul Bearer angle. </p><p> </p><p>

Both of these signings can be attributed to a change of direction in light of the Montreal incident, as Vince McMahon has been reportedly decided to go in a more adult-oriented, even edgy style. Reports indicate this is in no small part due to the influence of former WWF Magazine head writer Vince Russo, who has no wrestling background to speak of, but has been instrumental in the more raunchy segments featuring the likes of D-Generation X, and McMahon has been pleased with the results. Russo is, however, a very divisive voice within the creative circle for the WWF, with Jim Cornette in particular being a vocal critic. It remains to be seen if Cornette’s role will diminish in light of this new, edgier direction.</p><p> </p><p>

The WWF has brought in several other talents for OVW, including Nick Dinsmore, Rob Conway, Kimo and Ekmo, and in a surprise move Nelson Knight, the former Mabel. Knight was the definition of flop in his first run in the company and was let go due to his ever-increasing weight. </p><p> </p><p>

Dr. Tom Prichard has been brought in to help Dory Funk train new workers, as well as help oversee OVW. </p><p> </p><p> </p><p>

<strong>THE MONDAY NIGHT WARS WEEK TWO CARD</strong></p><p><strong>


WCW NITRO</p><p> </p><p>

Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera vs. Ultimo Dragon vs. Kidman</p><p> </p><p>

Saturn vs. Glacier</p><p> </p><p>

Goldberg vs. Wrath</p><p> </p><p>

Curt Henning vs. Lex Luger</p><p> </p><p>

Ric Flair, DDP, Chris Benoit and Booker T vs. Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Randy Savage, and Hollywood Hulk Hogan</p><p> </p><p>

WWF MONDAY NIGHT RAW</p><p> </p><p>

Goldust vs. Flash Funk</p><p> </p><p>

The New Blackjacks vs. The Godwins</p><p> </p><p>

Ahmed Johnson vs. Jeff Jarrett</p><p> </p><p>

Vader vs. Kane</p><p> </p><p>

Triple H vs. Mankind</p><p> </p><p>

BONUS POINT: Who will have the higher rated show? </p><p> </p><p>

Shows will probably not be posted until Sunday or Monday, so plenty of times to get those picks in!</p>

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Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera vs. Ultimo Dragon vs. Kidman


Saturn vs. Glacier


Goldberg vs. Wrath


Curt Hennig vs. Lex Luger


Ric Flair, DDP, Chris Benoit and Booker T vs. Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Randy Savage, and Hollywood Hulk Hogan





Goldust vs. Flash Funk


The New Blackjacks vs. The Godwins


Ahmed Johnson vs. Jeff Jarrett


Vader vs. Kane


Triple H vs. Mankind


BONUS POINT: Who will have the higher rated show?


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<p>WCW NITRO</p><p> </p><p>

<strong>Chris Jericho</strong> vs. Juventud Guerrera vs. Ultimo Dragon vs. Kidman</p><p> </p><p>

<strong>Saturn</strong> vs. Glacier</p><p> </p><p>

<strong>Goldberg</strong> vs. Wrath</p><p> </p><p>

Curt Henning vs. <strong>Lex Luger</strong></p><p> </p><p>

Ric Flair, DDP, Chris Benoit and Booker T vs. <strong>Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Randy Savage, and Hollywood Hulk Hogan</strong></p><p> </p><p>

WWF MONDAY NIGHT RAW</p><p> </p><p>

<strong>Goldust</strong> vs. Flash Funk</p><p> </p><p>

The New Blackjacks vs. <strong>The Godwins</strong></p><p> </p><p>

<strong>Ahmed Johnson</strong> vs. Jeff Jarrett</p><p> </p><p>

Vader vs. <strong>Kane</strong></p><p> </p><p>

<strong>Triple H</strong> vs. Mankind</p><p> </p><p>

BONUS POINT: Who will have the higher rated show? <strong>WCW</strong></p>

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The Monday Night Wars Week TWO


WCW Monday Nitro




Show opens with pyro and then we get Ric Flair, Chris Benoit, and Steve McMichael, better known as the Four Horsemen, out to the ring. They have some words for Bret Hart, who has officially been confirmed as a new signing by WCW… or the NWO. Flair takes the lead here, cutting a heck of a promo, saying that even though he and Bret haven’t always seen eye to eye, they’ve always respected each other, and more over, they’ve always respected the business.


“Bret, you’ve made yourself quite a legacy already, and by coming to WCW, where the big boys play, you can cement it! But if you side with Hogan and his cronies, you won’t cement your legacy, you’ll piss all over it.”


Rating: 98


We then get a quick recap of last week then head to the ring for


Match One: Juventud Guerrera vs. Kidman vs. Chris Jericho vs. Ultimo Dragon


A good ol’ fashioned cruiserweight cluster to open the show here as these four were given a little over ten minutes to go out and steal the show. Jericho and Dragon did their best to provide some cohesion but it was an uphill battle. Match is pretty much a succession of high spots, building to the big car crash dive spot, ending with Juvi hitting a corkscrew plancha.


They go back in the ring and throw it in to hyperdrive for the finish, everyone hitting their big moves but having the pins broken up. Jericho gets the upper hand and locks the Lion Tamer in on Ultimo, but Juvi runs in, drop kicks Jericho, then nails Ultimo with a 450 for the win!


Winner: Juventud Guerrera


Rating: 69


As the wrestlers head to the back Mean Gene catches Chris Jericho for a few words, who is beside himself. Jericho cuts a very frustrated promo, showing a little more fire than we’re used to from the white-meat babyface.


“Gene let me tell you something, all you WCW fans need to know, you still haven’t seen the best of Chris Jericho. I am tired of being the butt of the joke, tired of taking loss after loss, and in 1998 that’s going to change baby!”


Gene gives him a look only he could get away with.


“Well, Chris Jericho, I ask you this, what are you going to do about it?”


Jericho grew silent for a moment, suddenly looking very serious, maybe even dangerous.


“Just wait and see Gene-o, just wait and see…”


Rating: 61


We go to commercial and come back to a pre-taped vignette from Raven. This is another slickly produced skit, this time with Raven outdoors in a dark alleyway, looking every bit the disenchanted, maybe even homeless grunge icon. He cuts a promo on Goldberg, calling him “just another over-hyped Adonis” who can’t possibly understand what it’s like to be Raven. He says at Starrcade his Flock will show the world that Goldberg is just a false idol like all the others. Good stuff here, Raven is really coming in to his own on the mic.


Rating: 86


We then head to the ring for a match featuring one of Raven’s flock:


Match Two: Saturn vs. Glacier


Nothing much to report here, as Glacier still isn’t very good. Saturn does his best, though, and is showing his mettle as a really underrated in-ring talent. Nothing much going on in this one, as Saturn controlled for most of the match, Glacier got a quick comeback, but Saturn ended up being too much for the ice-ninja, sealing the win with his Death Valley Driver.


Winner: Saturn


Rating: 59


We then cut to the back to see the NWO arrive in limos, looking incredibly cocky. Bischoff proudly shows off a Canadian flag inspired NWO shirt, showing the maple leaf in the trademark black and white.




Rating: 100


Match 3: Goldberg vs. Wrath


Welcome to squash city, Mr. Wrath. Goldberg made quick work of the black-clad monster, taking a quick victory after a spear and jackhammer. Commentary spent most of this match talking about Goldberg’s ongoing issue with The Flock. This was just a backdrop for advancing that story.


Winner: Goldberg


Rating: 54


After a commercial break we are in the back as DDP, Ric Flair, and Chris Benoit approach Booker T in the locker room. They have a huge 4 on 4 match against the NWO in the main event, and after Hogan’s mockery of Booker last week they’ve decided to offer the young star the fourth spot in the match. Booker gladly accepts, saying he’s ready to prove himself.


Rating: 100


We then cut to the ring where “Rowdy” Roddy Piper is addressing the crowd. He has some thoughts on the upcoming Starrcade main event, and to the shock of no one he is firmly behind Sting. He cuts a typical Piper promo, running down Hogan and continuing the “WCW has Sting’s back” story.


Rating: 85


Next up is MATCH FOUR: Lex Luger vs. Curt Henning


Two big stars here in the semi-main event, but sadly Curt’s best days are behind him and Luger is… well… Luger. This match is about what you’d expect between the two. Lex starts off hot and Curt bumps himself silly for the Total Package before taking a shortcut to gain the advantage. Henning controls for a few minutes before Lex starts the inevitable comeback, which culminates in Lex locking in the Torture Rack!


Henning looks close to tapping when Buff Bagwell hits the ring, attacking Luger, and causing the DQ! Henning and Bagwell put the boots to Luger for a few seconds before leaving, celebrating as if they’d actually won the match.


Winner: Lex Luger


Rating: 75


Next we head backstage where the Steiner Brothers have some promo time, but they spend most of it bickering back and forth. Rick continues to be of the opinion that Ted Dibiase is some sort of double agent for the NWO, or at least a terrible influence, and Scott believes Dibiase is what the team needs to “dominate 1998 like we have for the last decade”. This was fine.


Rating: 73


This is followed by a highlight video of The Giant, hyping his feud with Kevin Nash. Chokeslam, chokeslam, chokeslam, scream of rage.


Rating: 77


Finally it is time for our MAIN EVENT: Ric Flair, Chris Benoit, Booker T, and Diamond Dallas Page vs. Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash


So much star power in this one, but it came up feeling more than a little flat, primarily due to the babyface side. DDP is massively over, but his gimmick of “true born” just doesn’t fit him at all. Kimberly also distracted from the match, her chemistry with Page is just off. Booker T also struggled to keep up with all the big name players, looking over-awed by the occasion.


The match itself was a slow-building 20 minute spectacle, with everyone getting their moments. Story of the match was simple- when it was one on one WCW was able to keep control, but when the NWO broke the rules to double team they took over. Booker ends up eating a pin here after Hogan blasts him with a chair shot and Macho Man hits his trademark flying elbow.


Winners: The NWO

Rating: 83


The NWO, joined by several more of their lackies, then continue to beat down the WCW heroes, with referees unsuccessfully trying to break it up. After a couple of minutes of this the lights go out and a strange, ominous song starts to play. What sounds like a small child begins to speak in a sing-song sort of voice, mocking and ethereal.


“Hooooogannnnn. Hooooooogaaaaaan.”


The lights come back on and the NWO has circled up in the ring, now confused and alarmed, ignoring the WCW crew entirely. Hogan can be heard shouting instructions.


“He’s here, damnit. Keep your eyes open!”


The lights go out again, and now the music is louder, as is the voice. More accurately, many voices, digitally manipulated, meshing together.


“He’s here for you. Your time is up.”


The lights come back on and Sting himself is now standing on the ramp, pointing his bat directly at Hogan, who is beside himself, freaking out and shouting orders. The lights continue to flicker, on and off, on and off, with the NWO looking around like they expect ghosts to pop out at any moment and carry them to hell.


The lights go out one last time. The child’s voice comes over the PA once again, melding with what sounds like an old, dying man.


“The year is dying fast. Your time is slipping through your fingers. There will be no running. Only a reckoning.”


The lights come back on and Sting has vanished, as has Hogan’s WCW title. The camera then quickly cuts to Sting, in his normal place in the rafters, holding the belt aloft.


“You dirty thief! You rotten…”


Hogan goes apoplectic as the show comes to an end.


Rating: 95


Show Rating: 88

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WWF Monday Night Raw- Week 2- December, 1997




The show opens with the usual pyro and ballyhoo as JR and the King welcome us to another edition of Monday Night Raw, and then bring out the CEO of the WWF, Vince McMahon! McMahon comes down to the ring to a chorus of boos, which he ignores. Vince gets in the ring and gets on the microphone.


“Now for the eight days there have been a lot of questions floating around, a lot of rumors and speculation. I am here to address those questions and rumors, and to provide all of you here tonight, and all of you watching around the world, some important information on the future of the World Wrestling Federation.”


The crowd has no idea how to react to this, most still booing, many chanting for Bret Hart. A large “You Screwed Bret” chant breaks out, and Vince visibly reacts.


“I screwed Bret, did I?” The crowd booms in response. “I’ll have you know that Vince McMahon didn’t screw Bret Hart, Bret Hart screwed Bret Hart!”


The crowd comes unglued to the point that JR and the King even comment on it.


“Now what all you people need to know is that there is nobody, and I mean nobody bigger than the World Wrestling Federation. Not even if they’re the WWF Champion. Anything that I did or took part in I did for one reason, and one reason only, to protect the World Wrestling Federation. The World Wrestling Federation is the legacy of my family, and no one, not some Billionaire from down south or some primadonna from Canada is going to destroy that!”


The crowd wants to cheer here, but they’re still torn. Vince is straddling the line, here, between heel and his traditional babyface announcer role.


“On that note, now that we are rid of the aging albatross around our neck, I am here to inform you that the World Wrestling Federation, in a bid to better reflect the world as it is today, will be moving away from the tired trope of ‘heroes against villains’, black and white, cookie cutter characters. What you will see going forward is a more life-like, realistic presentation, full of the kind of twists and turns and shocks you come to expect from the World Wrestling Federation, with a heavy dose of… attitude.”


Rating: 100- an epoch defining promo, to be sure.


We then get an early commercial break and come back for our first match:


MATCH ONE- Goldust vs. Flash Funk


What a way to kick off the Attitude Era, right? Right? Commentators spent a lot of this match talking up Goldust’s ongoing issue with Vader, weaving in Flash Funk’s past friendship/teaming with Vader in to the narrative. Match itself is nothing to write home about, primarily because Goldust was obviously under the influence during the match, staggering around and moving at about a third of his usual pace. Match kind of plods along until Goldust “snaps” and nails Funk with a huge chair-shot drawing the DQ.


Winner: Flash Funk

Rating: 51


Goldust continues his beat-down with the chair, throwing the referees to the side, until Vader runs in to make the save, causing the Gold one to make a hasty retreat. Vader checks on his fallen friend.


Rating: 64


We come back from commercial to see the Nation of Domination in the back in full force. As usual Farooq tries to take the lead, but The Rock interjects, steamrolling the nominal leader of the Nation, using the time to run down Ken Shamrock, Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Tom Cruise, Bill Clinton, and DX. It’s a verbal tour-de-force as only The Rock can provide, greatly amusing his fellow Nation-mates, aside from Farooq, who is left fuming as the Rock winds their allotted time down all on his own.


Rating: 98


Next up we have MATCH TWO: The New Blackjacks vs. The Godwins

These four went out and tried to have a barn-burner of a brawl, which all four guys could theoretically pull off, but neither of these teams has any sort of heat, so it just fell flat. The two teams have a pretty standard brawl before Windham hits his big lariat for the win.


Winners: The New Blackjacks


Rating: 54


We come back from another break and out comes the World Heavyweight champion, Shawn Michaels. The Heartbreak Kid grabs a mic and calls Vince McMahon out to the ring, who dutifully obliges, looking like a parent tired of dealing with his unruly child.


“What do you want, Shawn?” McMahon asks as calmly as he can manage. Michaels smirks at his boss, clearly loving every second of this on screen interaction.


“What I WANT, Vinny-Mac, is for you to tell all these idiots that I had nothing to do with the stunt you pulled on that chump.”


Now it’s Vince’s turn to smirk.


“Why Shawn, since when did you care about what all these people think?”


“You know I don’t give a damn about any of these people, Vince, just like you don’t. What I do care about is the boys in the back. They need to know their champion isn’t a… a stooge!”


The jam-packed crowd knows a set up when they hear it, and immediately a chant of “STOOGE! STOOGE! STOOGE” rains down on the champ, who heels it up in response.


“The boys in the back, huh? That’s who you’re worried about, Shawn?” Vince asks, Shawn nods emphatically. “I think there are a couple of people you’re reeeealllll worried about back there Shawn. A couple of people you’re afraid of.”


“Hey you get something straight there Vinny, the Heart Break Kid ain’t afraid of nobody!”


Vince smirks at him knowingly as The Undertaker’s music hits and the arena goes dark. The crowd goes nuts, as does the champ, albeit in decidedly different fashions. The Deadman appears at the top of the ramp with a microphone.


“Shawn Michaels….” the Undertaker drones. “You aren’t fooling anyone with your protests. Everyone knows you are nothing more than a paper champion, hand picked by the powers that be to do their bidding.”


The crowd again booms “Stooge!” at this, while Michaels looks irate.


“Your time is coming soon, Shawn Michaels, and when it does there will be no one, not Triple H, not Chyna, not even Vince McMahon who will be able to keep you from resting… in… peace…”


We then fade to commercial on an angry Shawn Michaels and intimidated Vince McMahon.


Rating: 100


We come back from break to Sunny and Sable on the ramp, both hawking the 1998 WWF Calendar, wearing slightly skimpier clothing than usual, it should be noted. They get a little catty, ending up in a tug-of-war over the calendar.


Rating: 65


Next up is MATCH THREE: Ahmed Johnson vs. Jeff Jarrett

Decent little match here between two guys potentially poised to make main-event runs. Very even, back and forth match which is probably a testament to the working ability of Jarrett, because Ahmed is still below-average in ring at best. Match follows a typical formula of the heel controlling and the face making the comeback for the win, with the Pearl City Plunge taking the victory for Ahmed.


Winner: Ahmed Johnson


Rating: 70


After the commercial break we get a hype video for “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Ken Shamrock, showing some of his highlights and best moves.


Rating: 75


We then head to the ring for MATCH FOUR: Kane vs. Vader


It’s a good, old-fashioned hoss fight as only the WWF can provide! Kane is being pushed as a near-invicible killer, and that continues here a he takes Vader’s best shots and keeps coming. Kane is in full control of the match until his ‘inexperience’ costs him as he misses a corner charge, allowing Vader to take over.


Vader uses his clubbing offense to finally deal some damage to the demonic force that is Kane, but becomes distracted when Goldust hits the ringside area, allowing Kane to nail him with a chokeslam for the win!


Winner: Kane


Rating: 77


We head to commercial and come back to see the entrance of Stone Cold Steve Austin!




The crowd goes crazy as the glass shatters and the rattlesnake storms down to the ring and grabs a mic. He then cuts a scathing promo on Shawn Michaels, calling him a ‘pampered little bitch who only shows up to work when the boss talks sweet about him’ and a ‘paper champion’. The crowd starts chanting “stooge” again, and Austin says stooge is “too good a word for him” and tells him to “drag that playgirl ass out here so Stone Cold can show you what a real champion looks like”.


Michaels responds to this by appearing on the Titan Tron and bad-mouthing Austin, saying he’s never done anything worthy of “carrying (his) jock, let alone a WWF title shot”. Austin smirks and calls Michaels “scared”. Michaels responds by saying he “ain’t scared of nothing”, saying Austin just had “other problems to worry about”.


Right as he says this The Rock jumps Austin from behind! The two begin to battle around ringside, leveling each other with punches and kicks, but it’s broken up before it can escalate to anything farther. Crowd was ALL ABOUT THIS, though, and there seems to be a ton of potential in a Rock-Austin matchup.


Rating: 100


Now it’s time for the MAIN EVENT- Triple H (with Chyna) vs. Mankind. Crowd firmly behind Mankind here, although these two don’t have much of an issue coming in to this, which hurt the heat. They were given a good amount of time here to build, and though it never got truly ‘main event’ quality.


Triple H used underhanded tactics to cut off every attempt Mankind made to rally and take control of the match, showing off his myriad ways of using the knee. Chyna also got involved, hitting a low blow when Trips distracted the ref.


That made the finish all the more surprising, as Owen Hart hit the ring to lay out Triple H as the ref was busy telling Chyna off! The newly dubbed “Ace of Harts” came through the crowd and nailed HHH with an inziguri which allowed Mankind to nail his double-armed DDT for the win!


Winner: Mankind


Rating: 77


After the match Owen unleashed on Triple H, and the show went off air with Ross exclaiming that DX’s issues with the Hart family look far from over!


Rating: 72


Overall: 85- The main event was very much overshadowed by the Austin/Rock segment right before, but overall some solid story advancement for the WWF!


Next: The dirtsheets weigh in!

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The Wrestling Observer Newsletter News and Notes- Week 2. December, 1997




With the new regime beginning to assert more control several behind-the-scenes deals have become more clear. The most important is that WCW’s second major TV show, which was to be called Thunder and air on TBS starting in January, has been shelved indefinitely. New WCW management feels the roster is not big enough to support two major shows, so they have negotiated a deal where the show will not begin airing until they are ready for it, but TBS will retain rights of first refusal for the show when it begins.


In other TV news they have inked deals with NHK and Sky Euro to begin airing Nitro in Japan and Europe, respectively. Increasing their flagship show’s reach was apparently a top priority for the new regime, and more deals are anticipated.


In non-TV news our sources indicate that Chris Jericho is in line for a major push in 1998, as owner Logan Jackson sees him as a potential face of the company in the future. This has raised several eyebrows in the locker room, as it is well-known that Jericho was considered “too small” by previous head honcho Eric Bischoff. To that end, it should be noted, Jericho has recently begun bulking up.


If Jericho truly is leaving the cruiserweight division that will present another vacancy to the rapidly thinning division, that currently sits without a champion. Reports indicate that there will be a ladder match for the title at Starrcade, possibly with as many as six people, which would be a first, at least in the US.


The biggest question surrounding Starrcade appears to revolve around the main event, as Jackson apparently held a top-secret meeting with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan, apparently to soothe over any worries Hogan has about his future, as well as the direction of the company. The logical direction of the storyline is Sting finally getting his win, securing WCW’s future, and that is widely believed to be the finish, even pre-dating Jackson’s acquisition of WCW. Sources indicate that Jackson has elected to tweak the nature of the finish, potentially in a way that makes Sting look stronger or takes some protection away from Hogan, and this meeting was to pitch that vision. Reports indicate that the meeting went “well”, but Hogan remains concerned and undecided about the finish. More as it develops.




Owen Hart and Mick Foley both returned to TV this week. There is no heat on either for missing the previous week, and in fact many are surprised they remain with the company at all, particularly Hart. Reports indicate that Hart will be receiving both a pay and push increase, as a program with Triple H appears to be on the cards, likely culminating at Wrestlemania.


Davey Boy Smith, Hart’s long time partner, will not have any part to play in the storyline as he came to terms on a release with the WWF this week, buying out his remaining contract. He is expected to join Bret Hart in WCW.


The WWF’s year-end pay per view offering will now be known as Armageddon. No main event has been finalized at this time, though reports indicate Ken Shamrock vs. Shawn Michaels or D-Generation X vs. Steve Austin and Owen Hart are both being considered.


Vignettes for new signings are expected to begin in the coming weeks. Both Morely, who will be going by the name Val Venis, and Vampiro, whose new moniker has not been decided, are expected to receive pushes upon debut.


Dustin Runnels, performing as Goldust, wrestled in a severely impaired state this past week, and received a stiff fine as a result. His substance abuse issues are no secret backstage, and are the only thing preventing him from making a real, main event run.



Next: Loose lips sink ships...

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Wait, was this before or after WCW had nearly 100 people under contract to the point that creative didn't even realize some people were actually getting paid for staying home for months? WCW having a small roster at this point strikes me as a little weird, but that might have been more late-1998 when there were 5 NWOs among other rampant stupidity thanks to Bischoff being a moron.


Really enjoying this so far. Bret getting to participate in a screwjob on Hogan less than a month after the one he got from Vince would be awesome.

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Wait, was this before or after WCW had nearly 100 people under contract to the point that creative didn't even realize some people were actually getting paid for staying home for months? WCW having a small roster at this point strikes me as a little weird, but that might have been more late-1998 when there were 5 NWOs among other rampant stupidity thanks to Bischoff being a moron.


Really enjoying this so far. Bret getting to participate in a screwjob on Hogan less than a month after the one he got from Vince would be awesome.


Weird how WCW did back then what WWE is doing today. Signing everyone they can, just so they don't work for the competition.

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