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June 19, 2000 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Goldberg turns heel at Great American Bash, All Japan changes, more

Wrestling Observer Newsletter

PO Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228 ISSN1083-9593 June 19, 2000

In a week where the entire landscape of the pro wrestling industry is expected to change, the first tree to fall, All Japan Pro Wrestling, at least in the form it has been for the past 28 years, is no more.

Tokyo Sports confirmed on 6/12 that the long-rumored split talked about in this publication had started with Mitsuharu Misawa, the President and top star of the company, resigning on 5/28. The news was kept quiet by all parties until the end of the tour and they were hoping to keep it quiet for several more days in an attempt to present a smoother public transition. On 6/13 at an emergency meeting of the board of directors once the story had broken publicly, five more members, Kenta Kobashi, Akira Taue, Mitsuo Momota, Yoshihiro Momota (the oldest son of Rikidozan who is a retired pro wrestler who works in the front office) and Kenichi Oyagi (the Managing Director of All Japan) all formally resigned, confirming what was already known by insiders that virtually the entire company was leaving Motoko Baba.

While this is not official, it is strongly believed that Misawa will start his own promotion, probably around September. At one point Misawa had attempted to make for a smoother public transition, particularly due to the death of Tomomi Tsuruta, attempting to keep the All Japan name, attempting to get Baba's public blessings rather than start a promotional war with the wife of Giant Baba, while starting a new company, thus attempting to preserve the history and legacy of Baba & Tsuruta. Motoko Baba refused the proposal or to give up any financial control of the company she owned 85 percent of the stock in (Nippon TV owns the other 15 percent) and that her husband built.

According to reports from various sources close to the situation, every wrestler in the company with the exception of Toshiaki Kawada and Masa Fuchi, have pledged loyalty to Misawa, and virtually the entire front office is going with him as well. It is believed the older wrestlers, Rusher Kimura, Haruka Eigen and Mitsuo Momota, would become house show promoters for the new organization. At the meeting on 6/13, the only board members that stayed loyal to Baba were Kawada, who will likely be announced as new company President by the end of the week, Sachiko Baba, the sister of the late Shohei Baba, and Masao Oba, the 76-year old Inspector.

Both Baba and Misawa are expected to hold press conferences on 6/16 to explain publicly their future plans.

Misawa and Motoko Baba have never gotten along in their respective roles as President of the company and Owner. Largely the problems stemmed from Baba wanting to keep the status quo in a company that wasn't doing well at the box office, to keep expenses down. Misawa wanted to change the in-ring product as far as booking to push younger wrestlers. There was a major fight last year when Misawa booked a Budokan Hall show with Jun Akiyama vs. Takao Omori on last in the main event spot as a way to get the fans to accept the two as Budokan main eventers, but Baba fought it, feeling Budokan Hall due to traditional should almost always be headlined either by a tournament final or by a Triple Crown match, but Misawa got his idea of the five main event singles match show, put Akiyama and Omori on last, and the event sold out).

Misawa also wanted to modernize the contracts with the wrestlers, trying to get the wrestlers full medical coverage, contracted full pay while out with injuries, as well as (according to one report) the opportunity New Japan wrestlers have regarding stock options. Misawa also wasn't authorized to give any of the native wrestlers raises at the end of the fiscal year on 3/31, which is why no new contracts were signed and all the talent are now free agents. There was talk, because of that, of the wrestlers, after the conclusion of the Champion Carnival tour in mid-April, not returning for the tour which ended on 6/9. Misawa strongly encouraged everyone to work the tour since line-ups had been announced and tickets had been sold and he felt it would be bad for business to leave at that point because the ticket buying public would have gotten screwed. All Japan has a tour from 7/1 to 7/23 announced, but none of the foreigners were announced nor have any of the matches been announced, so nobody is walking out on already advertised matches. It is believed at this point the tour will continue, with Kawada and Fuchi as the top native stars, as well as some foreigners and there is talk of getting help from New Japan, although publicly on 6/13, New Japan President Tatsumi Fujinami said that he hoped to meet with Misawa to be able to promote dream matches between the two groups, saying that he was sad he was never able to have the match with Tsuruta.

There are problems which could result in legal action. Misawa is said to have a non-compete clause in his contract as company President. There is also the possibility of Baba filing a lawsuit claiming Misawa had already started work to set up a new company while still employed as her company President. The final split took place when the All Japan Board of Directors had an emergency meeting on 5/28 after an afternoon show at Korakuen Hall to try and work out the problems and Baba didn't come, and instead her lawyer arrived with a piece of paper saying she wasn't coming to the meeting. The key piece of the puzzle is Nippon TV, which has broadcasted wrestling nearly on a weekly basis dating back to Rikidozan and the debut of major league Japanese pro wrestling 46 years ago. Many long-time fans see this situation as being very similar to what happened in 1972, when Baba himself left the old Japanese Wrestling Alliance, getting the Nippon TV contract, and the JWA, Rikidozan's organization which for years was the dominant group in the country, struggled on without most of its top stars (Antonio Inoki had formed New Japan Pro Wrestling at about the same time), and folded seven months later. There has been talk over the past few days that NTV will cancel All Japan's weekly show on Wednesday night's, which was just moved in April, which as this has played out, been a move so the show would die a natural death, to from 1:45 to 2:15 a.m., perhaps as soon as this week or the end of this month, and would start broadcasting Misawa's new promotion. When asked, NTV officials refused to say anything about the situation, which was taken as a sign they'd made the decision to go with Misawa, as had been rumored from the start of talks that there would be a split. Last year, in April, when the new TV season started and there were talks about a split because the two weren't on speaking terms, NTV didn't want to be seen as cancelling what the older generation would see as Baba's television program so soon after Baba's death but supposedly gave Misawa the impression they would side with him if the split came down the line. It is believed that even if NTV hadn't sided with Misawa, that the Fuji Network, had sent feelers to Misawa in the event of a split.

Misawa and Baba had problems from the start, and the power struggles actually dated back before the death of Shohei Baba. Misawa got the booking position in All Japan from Shohei Baba by threatening to pull all the talent from the company and start his own group. Baba averted the problems at the time by making Misawa booker, probably recognizing his own health was failing and there was no point in fighting. After Baba's death, Misawa and the wrestlers would have been unable to make the move, even though Motoko was notoriously unpopular within the wrestling community in Japan and among the native wrestlers as the legendary "Dragon Lady" of Japanese wrestling (a title which also makes Misawa the total babyface to the Japanese press in this situation because everyone has their Motoko stories), because of the perception as it pertained to the timing of Baba's death. The major problems actually began almost immediately when Tsuruta was forced out of the company. Tsuruta, who had worked for the company for 27 years, got no severance package leaving, but as a member of the board, was able to wield enough influence before leaving the company to help way things for Misawa to get the title of President in the power struggle. Throughout the year there were bad feelings as Misawa had the title, but Baba controlled the purse strings and remained fiscally conservative as the company's box office was overall weakening. According to those close to the situation, Misawa, in an attempt to keep harmony, and perhaps pay her to not interfere in his hands, then kept Motoko on a $500,000 per year salary, which was the same actual salary her husband drew as company President, but since it was her company and her money funding it, that didn't change any of the dynamics.

Kawada, 36, who has known Misawa dating back to high school where the two were both superstars on the high school wrestling team that won national championships (Misawa wrestled one weight class higher and was one year older), is going to stay for a variety of reasons. Kawada and Misawa haven't fully gotten along, perhaps due to Kawada recognizing he was never going to be able to get the top position in the company, as Misawa was going to hold it and when the time came for Misawa to retire, it was clear Kobashi was going to be the top star. Kawada suffered what should have been a career ending eye injury last year after multiple surgeries. He came back too soon (although his first match back in January against Kobashi was a Match of the Year candidate), and still has some double vision in his bad eye. At one point Shiro Koshinaka, one of New Japan's assistant bookers, was sent to meet with Kawada earlier this year. There is the potential with Kawada as President that he could work as an outsider on Dome shows with dream matches against all new opponents, and revitalize New Japan's big show business, in the role Genichiro Tenryu and Nobuhiko Takada drew huge money in for years. In exchange, New Japan could supply Kawada with talent to keep All Japan afloat, as they did to keep UWFI and WAR afloat at various points, although the end result of those dealings still resulted in the end of the smaller organizations. There is even the booking possibility of reforming a tag team with Tenryu & Kawada against the New Japan wrestlers.

As far as the foreign talent, nothing is truly settled. After the card on 6/7, the All Japan Geijin (foreign) bus driver told all the wrestlers to clean out the bus of their gear, CD's, etc., which came as a shock to all the wrestlers who had heard rumors for a year but this was a total scare that they may not be brought back. The wrestlers also checked with the hotel in Tokyo they usually stay at if rooms were booked for the July tour, which is always done well in advance, and they weren't, nor was anyone given official confirmation of their return dates. A lot of the foreigners were closer to Baba, since she paid them and there were never money problems dealing with All Japan, nor the stresses of dealing with office politics as in the United States and the touring was much easier with the company bus and the hotels taken care of by the office and with the time off between tours. Both Misawa and Baba heard from wrestlers who did their best to alleviate their concerns and not to worry although basically they were all left hanging. Steve Williams and Johnny Ace are the tightest with Baba on a personal level. Stan Hansen, who is the highest paid of the foreigners, is apparently staying out of the situation as he's just about ready to wind down his career and has talked of retiring, as he's saved his money, and becoming a Geography teacher and high school football coach.

On all three fronts, the American business situation remains up in the air as the WWFE vs. USA Network trial began on 6/12 in Wilmington, DE.

The trial puts the television future of the WWF, which is strong and has a great deal awaiting it no matter how the trial ends up, and ECW, which is basically on hold until the decision comes in, on the line at the same time as the future of WCW is in question.

The opening two days of the trial were built around USA Cable Senior Vice President David Brenner's testimony. Brenner revealed he's on bad terms with some senior company executives, was USA's negotiator in the current contract, which calls for USA Network to pay the WWF $42,000 per episode of Raw. USA's initial offer for an extension would increase the payment to $80,000 per episode in 2001, $85,000 in 2002 and $90,000 in 2003 as well as offering increases in payments for the other three weekly shows on USA. On 12/23, McMahon turned down the offer. USA increased its offer at a 2/16 meeting, which McMahon also turned down, and then in March, announced it was exercising its clause to terminate the deal in September and begin negotiations elsewhere.

Over the past week, reports have it that SFX and WCW had talks about purchasing the company, talks that didn't come to fruition. Eric Bischoff and Terry Bollea have also had more talks with the FOX network, about a deal that may or may not be completely done, about doing a worked interpromotional angle ala the New Japan vs. UFO deal. SFX was to have another meeting on 6/19 where further discussion about purchasing the company would come up, with the idea they would be purchasing a company that had television deals with both FOX and TNT/TBS. There were a lot of people in major decision making powers in the wrestling world who were of the assumption that the FOX angle would be the big surprise on the Great American Bash PPV.

As the stories go, Bischoff and Hogan would likely go to FOX, which is a company so large that one hand doesn't know what the other is doing, as a completely different part of the company has also had talks about potential ECW business. Late in the week, Paul Heyman was getting feelers once again from WCW about doing a potential interpromotional angle, which he has expressed no interest in doing.

But even though WCW is suffering money losses the likes of which nobody in this industry has ever suffered, it is ECW that is in the most precarious fiscal condition. The company is in a major financial crunch. Wrestlers are several weeks behind in getting paid. The ECW contracts signify that if ECW owes a wrestler money for more than 30 days, a period which in the case of at least most wrestlers, hasn't been reached yet, they at that point can notify ECW about a grievance and ECW has 60 days from that point to remedy the grievance. It is believed that no wrestlers have done so up to this point because of the fear that if filing, they would be buried on TV for the next 60 days.

There are several sources who appear to be willing to loan ECW money or buy interest in the company, including the WWF (which is said to be willing to loan the company many based on certain conditions, but has no interest in owning any points in ECW), which has helped ECW out in the past when things got tight. The conditions of the loan offers are such Heyman can't, at this point, be in any type of a situation that wouldn't allow him to make an immediate maneuver so at this point the company remains financially strapped with rumors about its future spreading wildly because of the wrestlers paychecks being late.

All of the companies negotiating with WCW are also talking with ECW, most likely in their minds as a back-up plan, including a group headed by former WCW executive Jay Hassman. Even though both WCW and ECW have suffered heavy financial losses over the past year, because of the success of the WWF, there has never been more interest among major entertainment conglomerates in having a wrestling company as a division. If it were the old days and wrestling were run as a business needing to make money, the WWF would be the only survivor, but wrestling has become like major sports franchises, where the companies can show on paper major losses year after year, but because there are so select few, the franchises can still be sold as a profit. The reality is if WCW is sold to SFX, however many tens of millions Turner has lost in 12 years of running a company that really only had two financially successful years, that will be more than made up for at the end of the game because the selling price will be far more than the combination of those losses and the estimated $9 million the Crockett family received from Turner Broadcasting in the 1988 buy-out, so in the long-run, it was still a positive business investment.

The ECW situation with TNN remains in the same precarious position it has been in for the past several weeks. Although Paul Heyman says there are back up plans and he could potentially survive just with syndicated television as in the pre-TNN days, when, ECW's crowds were just as large as they are today, the ability to garner a USA Network deal, if it were to be offered if WWF leaves, and having a much larger production budget to make the television appear major league, are necessities for ECW to be competitive, and perhaps profitable, in the big picture.

The big surprise at the 6/11 Great American Bash turned out to be the heel turn of Bill Goldberg, which might have been effective had it not been so overly built up as something that would change the landscape of sports entertainment forever, that it was considered a huge let down.

The show itself was a series of matches with a numbing level of run-ins, an undercard with little crowd reactions, three stunt man spots--which guaranteed none would stand out although one using a real life stunt double would have under most circumstances, repeated finishes and predictable swerves including the third straight PPV main event with the same finish, and the third straight Diamond Dallas Page main event with the same finish, and four matches in a row in the mid-card using a similar foreign object finish.

There seemed to be little that the crowd live liked except for the reactions to Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair and the "Goldberg" chants, and, unfortunately, the former is not the answer and the latter (Goldberg) by itself wouldn't have been either, but it really is a moot point right now. The Goldberg turn on Kevin Nash, costing Nash the WCW title in the main event, got a lot of heat live as it pertained to people chanting "Goldberg sux" and throwing a lot of things for ten minutes after the show went off the air after he hugged Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo. That was the same scene when Hogan turned in 1996, which led to the biggest period for business in company history. The turn, which was way too soon in Goldberg's career and comeback, was something Russo wanted to do from the start simply because Goldberg had never played heel yet. It also allowed Hogan and Nash to be solidified in the top two face positions, something needed since Hogan is still the most powerful man in the company and the need is felt by everyone to keep him happy, and an unhappy Nash, since he's good at rallying the disharmony of the other wrestlers, is always seem as a high priority. There are people in the company that have actually been convinced that Scott Steiner has more drawing power potential as a babyface than Goldberg, even though the difference in their respective television ratings are like night and day over the past two years, although at this point, probably every aspect of booking is over-analyzed because the problems from long term perception of the company, particularly by teenagers that see it as old man's wrestling, are just as damaging as the lack of continuity in the booking. If nothing else, it seemed to set up Bash at the Beach on 7/9 in Daytona Beach, FL with two natural match-ups, Hogan challenging Jarrett for the heavyweight title and Goldberg vs. Nash, which is better planned than WCW comes out of most shows with, but in their desperation for ratings and with the acknowledgement that PPV really doesn't mean that much to the company since they get so few buys, they ran both matches at Nitro the next day. Of course, this show, on paper, had the careers of Hogan and Flair, the two biggest names in the American business over the past 25 years, both at stake, either of which should have been enough (witness the Mick Foley build-up in February) to sellout and do a big buy rate, let alone both. But with WCW having destroyed fan confidence in stipulations, those extreme stipulations probably meant little or nothing when it came to drawing money at the end.

To show just how far the company has fallen, in Baltimore, which outside of the Carolinas, is probably Flair's strongest city and a city Hogan has history going back to his first WWF matches with Andre at the Arena some 20 years ago, putting both of their careers on the line along with promising the biggest surprise in history resulted in 7,031 fans attending, of which only 4,677 were paid for a gate of $154,445. That number, as if you need any more numerical proof by this point, is almost staggering when you think about the nature of the advertised stipulations and how badly the consumer's confidence in WCW living up to any stipulations is. Could you imagine the Mexican or Japanese equivalent, a show where Santo and Perro both put up their careers as well as a similar promise only drawing 4,677 paid to Arena Mexico (and that's with Perro doing his own brand of damage to a retirement stipulation after a retirement tour that seemingly has lasted longer than a lot of careers) or a match where Inoki and Choshu both put up their careers and the promise of a similar level announcement only drawing 4,677 paid to the Tokyo Dome? Putting all that in perspective speaks volumes.

1. Lt. Loco (Salvador Guerrero III) retained the cruiserweight title over Disco Inferno (Glen Gilbertti), who was frequently called the Hip Hop Inferno during the match, in 4:57. All the FA's and MIA's (except for G.I. Bro) came out during this match. Disco wrestled wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey. Both the MIA's and FA's interfered so frequently the match had no structure. Loco did a great plancha taking out the FA's. The old man playing Captain Rection's dad came out and started hitting on Tigress. He came out five minutes early, and since the finish was based on his timing, the match was cut way short. Konnan shoved the guy down. He sold it like he was dead. Juventud Guerrera tried a reverse DDT on Loco, but somehow that got screwed up and the move looked closer to a reverse bulldog. Guerrera then missed a people's elbow, but Disco hit the last dance (stunner) and then Cpl. Cajun (Lash Leroux) gave Disco a russian leg sweep for Loco's pin. The finish was a mess. The match was a backdrop for the post-match. After the FA's left the MIA's laying, Pops was still lying there dead for Major Gunns to deliver the mouth-to-mouth. She reluctantly did, he awoke from the dead, and in one of the few wrestling moves of the show, reversed her and got on top before he was pulled off. *

2. Kronik (Brian Adams & Bryan Clark) beat the Mamalukes (John Hugger & Vito LoGrasso) in 9:20. Vito wrestled the match early wearing the hardcore belt which was the storyline for the match. Johnny was worked over most of the way. Match had no heat. When Vito made the hot tag, Adams sure looked like he hated selling. Adams pulled the hardcore title belt off Vito and it was thrown to ringside. Adams used a form of a brainbuster on Vito for a near fall. Johnny ended up being in the ring while Vito left the ring to retrieve his belt, and then stayed outside the ring for the rest of the match. Johnny slipped off the top rope the first time he went to do a reverse splash. The second time he did the move, but Adams & Clark were so far gone it was one of the worst misses you'll ever see. Adams & Clark then used the high times, a double choke slam, on Johnny for the pin in a match to determine the No. 1 contenders for Sean Stasiak & Chuck Palumbo's tag team titles. Vito acted as if he didn't care since he still had his hardcore belt. *

3. Mike Awesome (Mike Alfonso) beat Diamond Dallas Page (Page Falkinburg) in 9:41 of an ambulance match. Talk about an overdone gimmick. Pamela Paulshock, who did a pre-match interview, couldn't even pronounce the word ambulance. They brought Kanyon to the ringside area wearing his halo, which gave away the finish. Both guys KO'd the first ref right away. They worked hard but there were more mistimed spots than usual. Awesome power bombed Page through a table. Page rolled off the gurney to continue the match. Awesome delivered two chair shots, the second of which was very weak to the point the crowd groaned. He did two frog splashes, but missed a third. Kimberly came out and hit Page with a pipe. Miss Hancock came out and dragged Kimberly away. Page delivered a diamond cutter off the ropes to lay out Awesome. At this point Bischoff appeared on the stage and appeared to be ready to hit Kanyon with a chair. Page went to the ramp to save Kanyon, who got up out of his wheelchair and gave Page a diamond cutter off the ramp to a gimmicked part of the floor and Page was put in the ambulance, making it three PPV shows in a row where Page's best friend or wife has turned on him. **1/4

4. G.I. Bro (Booker Huffman) pinned Sean Stasiak (Sean Stepich) in 13:58 in a boot camp match. No heat early. They did the ten count finish rule and teased a lot of near ten counts. Crowd was chanting boring early, but the finish with the double-teaming did get Bro over. Bro hit the uranage and a missile dropkick when Palumbo interfered. He ax kicked Palumbo but Stasiak hit him with a low blow with what was called a Lex flexer. After being double-teamed for a while, Bro came back with a double clothesline and side kicks on both before hitting both men with the flexer and knocking Stasiak out for the win. *1/2

5. Shane Douglas (Troy Martin) beat Wall (Jerry Tuite) in 8:12 of a tables match. Douglas asked for a best of five tables match. The announcers explained it was really the best of nine, even though as it turned out, it really was the best of five. As you can imagine, the announcers weren't going into business for themselves, it's just that whomever clarified what the five tables rule meant wasn't a math whiz. The wrestling was pretty bad early. Finally Wall choke slammed Douglas through one table, and back suplexed him through a second one. So it was match point on Douglas. They brawled to a set up ladder, with three tables stacked up next to the ladder for a stunt. It only looked like two tables because they had a cloth over the bottom table since there was so much padding underneath that they didn't want people to see it. Both men climbed the ladder. Douglas hit Wall with a foreign object and Wall fell backwards through the three tables to lose. *1/4

6. Scott Steiner (Scott Rechsteiner) won the asylum match over Rick Steiner (Robert Rechsteiner) and Tank Abbott (David Abbott) in 3:46. This was awful. It was switched to a handicap match on the spot. Scott was throwing Abbott around when Rick came in. The cage then lowered. They doubled on Scott until Abbott pulled out a chain. Rick got in the way and took the chain to protect his brother. Scott then got the chain, used it for the second straight foreign object finish, and used the recliner for the submission. Don't worry, later in the show during the last match run-in, Rick and Abbott were together and Rick was still a heel. DUD

7. Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea) pinned Billy Kidman (Peter Gruner) to earn a title shot at the next PPV in 11:39. Hogan came out doing his Hollywood persona and did probably his most lame interview since those horrible strap match promos. It was typical Hogan-Kidman, with Hogan taking the entire match, and then beating him in the end. Hogan whipped him with a belt hard. Kidman came back dropkicking a chair into Hogan's face and using a few chair shots. Kidman did a terrible looking DDT. Hogan was looking really slow. Kidman did a splash off the top rope for a near fall, and then got mad at Horace for his count. Hogan looked terrible in doing his big comeback. He hip tossed Kidman through a table. Torrie Wilson came out. Hogan and Wilson collided and Wilson took a bump doing the injured ankle spot. The Brass Knux that Wilson was apparently going to give Hogan, ended in Kidman's hands and he KO'd Hogan. But wait, Hogan kicked out. Wilson gave Kidman a low blow. He wasn't wearing a cup this time. Hogan then hit Kidman with Knux for the pin. Even though the match was lousy, Hogan was the first guy on the card to get a really big crowd reaction. *1/4

8. Ric Flair (Richard Fliehr) beat David Flair (David Fliehr) in 10:16 with Ric's career at stake. Ric came out with his entire family, wife Beth, Reid, along with both daughters, Megan and Ashley. It was looking sad when Ric went to do his flip into the corner and couldn't even get the full flip. But aside from that, Ric showed his unbelievable abilities since this was far and away David's best match ever. Russo hit Ric with a baseball bat and handcuffed him. David used the figure four with Russo helping David with leverage. Reid Fliehr hopped the rail but Russo pie-faced him down. Reid then gave Russo a low blow, got the handcuff key from him which ref Charles Robinson finally got and unlocked Ric. Ashley then jumped Russo and locked him up with the handcuffs. Ric made a big comeback, chopping the hell out of David and Russo, and finished David off with David taking the Flair slam off the top, a kneedrop and the figure four. After the match, Russo challenged Ric to a match with Ric's career at stake on Nitro. **1/2

9. Vampiro (Ian Hodgkison) beat Sting (Steve Borden) in an Inferno match in 7:23. Sting opened the match saying that the torch would be at the top of the giant screen and they played up that Vampiro was afraid of heights. The match started in the ring with Vampiro pouring liquid all over Sting, which they pretended was gasoline. They ended up climbing the ladder to the top. Sting took one stunt man bump about ten feet into padding. He then got right up, negating the very idea of doing the bump, and climbed back up the ladder. Match had no heat at all. They finally got to the top of the screen, and did some thunder and lightning sound effects and finally the lights went out, allowing them to switch to a stunt double. Apparently some could see the stunt double put on the Sting mask and some fans in the building were able to see the switch. The stunt man was then set on fire, and jumped off the top, which looked to be every bit of 30 feet into a heavily padded stage. They then doused him like crazy with the fire extinguisher. It wasn't so much because he was on fire, but because in the landing, his wig came off and if the smoke cleared people would be able to see it wasn't Sting. The announcers then tried to sell it like it was the Owen Hart death, and anyone who thinks that wasn't the catalyst for this idea is fooling themselves. For that reason, among many, this was horrible on so many levels I don't even want to get started on it. -**

10. Jeff Jarrett retained the WCW title beating Kevin Nash in 17:22. As if it hasn't been beaten to death enough, they teased the Survivor Series 1997 finish with Konnan as the bell ringer, Rey Misterio Jr. as the timekeeper, Disco Inferno as the belt keeper, Juventud Guerrera as the ring announcer and Ernest Miller as the second referee. In other words, they were all there to take bumps to get the match over because these two guys can't work a main event match on their own. Actually Jarrett was good. Nash was immobile. Misterio Jr. hit Nash in the knee with a chair and Jarrett went to work with the chair to the knee. Fans were already chanting for Goldberg, who was teased throughout the show with Bischoff saying they wouldn't let him in and Goldberg monster truck sightings. Very little heat but Jarrett did a good job of working on the leg and the announcers, who had on this night a horrible product to call, did a very good job in this match. Finally Jarrett got the figure four. Madden's analysis here was really good pointing out that Nash had three reconstructive surgeries on the knee and that he's lucky to be walking. After a rope break, Nash started a comeback and despite Jarrett doing a good job working over the knee and Madden and Schiavone doing an even better job of selling it, he got up and didn't sell it the rest of the match. Konnan hit him in the head with the ring bell for one teased near fall. Nash elbowed Misterio Jr. off the ropes and he fell backwards. Nash had Jarrett pinned after hitting him with the bell but Disco attacked ref Mickey Jay. Guerrera hit Nash with a chair and Cat ran in to count but Nash kicked out again. Nash gave Disco a side slam and did the high kick on Konnan and Guerrera, but Jarrett got him with the stroke, but Nash kicked out again. Jarrett came off the top with a guitar, but Nash caught him before the blow and choke slammed him. Cat went to make the count but after two, Cat had that mysterious heel ref something in the eye injury. Nash then power bombed Cat and delivered this high kick that missed Jarrett by about a foot and power bombed him. Charles Robinson ran in to count but Rick Steiner stopped him. Didn't Rick just turn, oh forget it? Abbott was in but Scott Steiner brawled with Abbott while everyone pounded on Nash and Misterio Jr. gave him the bronco buster. Goldberg ran in for the save, but of course, waited forever. Nash pointed at Jarrett, which guaranteed he was the one getting speared, and Jarrett scored the pin. Goldberg, Russo and Bischoff all hugged as the show went off the air. *1/4

The combined EMLL and AAA show on 6/17 at Plaza de Toros is not the type of dream match type of show but more a card where they are throwing people on a show. There is only one promotion vs. promotion match, but it is mainly mixed matches.

The main event is scheduled to have EMLL's Rayo de Jalisco Jr. & Brazo de Plata teaming with AAA's Octagon & La Parka Jr. against rudos Shocker & Pierroth Jr. from EMLL and Cibernetico & Abismo Negro from AAA.

The semifinal is similar, with the reuniting of the Casas family as Negro Casas teams with brothers Felino and Heavy Metal for the first time in nearly a decade against a heel team of Pirata Morgan & Electro Shock from AAA teaming with EMLL's Bestia Salvaje.

Also announced was a trios match with Los Nuevos Infernales of EMLL, El Satanico & Rey Bucanero & Ultimo Guerrero, facing a mixed team of AAA's Hector Garza & Latin Lover teaming with EMLL's Tarzan Boy. The only promotion vs. promotion match announced was the EMLL team of Mr. Niebla & Olimpico & Emilio Charles Jr. facing the AAA rudo trio of Sangre Chicana & Cobarde & El Texano.

The show is scheduled to air the next day in Mexico on Televisa, although at last word that wasn't a definite. If it does, then the show is scheduled to air in the United States on 6/27 and in three-hour form, so probably most if not the entire card would air. Galavision on 6/13 pre-empted the Arena Mexico footage (it did air one hour of AAA) where the first angle to build to the show was to air.

In what is a gutsy move, the first legitimate attempt to "lower the bar" as it pertains to the escalating danger risks and concurrent increasing injury rate, the WWF is getting ready to slowly enact a mandate banning all maneuvers where a wrestler could conceivably land on his head.

The way it was explained to us, the type of moves banned, besides forms of DDTs and tombstone piledrivers, as was first publicized when word of this leaked to some of the wrestlers earlier in the week are far more reaching. Banned moves would also include all forms of piledrivers, brainbusters and other back and overhead suplexes where with a slight timing mistake, the person taking the bump could land on his head. The idea is this would slowly be worked into, in that wrestlers who currently use some of these moves weren't asked to change their matches immediately, but be told to wean away from those maneuvers. An example given to us was that Rikishi would start weaning his way away form his version of a piledriver as his finisher. It isn't inconceivable the moves would still be used on occasion for angle purposes and this isn't like the Bill Watts top rope ban in WCW where it would be publicized to become a television issue of discussion as the WWF has said nothing publicly about it. Moves used on more sporadic occasions could give them more meaning, although that was not what we were told was a purpose for this and the purpose was specifically said to lower the bar and hopefully the injury risk of competitors who are doing four shows most weeks. Many of the wrestlers as of late in the week were still unaware this doctrine was going to be implemented. There were no tombstone piledrivers delivered in the past week, although Rikishi was still delivering his version of the piledriver at the house shows as his finisher in a match with Kurt Angle and there were DDT's delivered in the past week by The Rock (on Smackdown), Eddy Guerrero and Matt Hardy (on Raw, but that DDT was delivered with Chris Benoit taking the bump on his face as opposed to taking it on his head although the move was not cleared by either of them before hand).

Of those who were given the word about the toning down, there was some complaints about the DDT being on the list of banned moves because it is generally considered a relatively safe bump, and since the problem isn't the moves per se but taking dangerous bumps, there will likely be a continuation of the move but with wrestlers taking the bump similar to how Benoit took it on Raw. There have been notable injuries from forms of piledrivers, most notably among major stars in recent years, Masahiro Chono in his 1992 match with Steve Austin from a K driller (Rikishi driver), and Austin in his 1997 match with Owen Hart from a tombstone piledriver, both of which ended up limiting physically two of the biggest names in the business. We were told it may not be all DDT's, but more DDT's off the ropes where it's more momentum added to the bump because of the greater height. While making the business safer for the performers should be commended, it comes at a risk in this day and age with an audience that is so desensitized to the danger aspects and with competitors willing to exploit any benevolence, that pulling back may be taken by some fans as a sign of weakness. In a very similar but different vein years ago, when WWF attempt to clean up its drug problems, the other companies didn't follow suit and were able to exploit the weakness by becoming the havens for the wrestlers who weren't as willing to give up the steroids, and quite frankly, a major reason I believe the WWF dropped its program was because the company was having not only a hard time turning a profit with a roster of largely natural bodies, but it was also having a hard time competing against a roster of generally older headliners that, because they were without those same limitations, able to look physically more impressive.

It isn't known what exactly is the catalyst for all this. It wasn't the death of independent wrestler Mark Mendlan, who suffered a broken neck from a bad landing off a press slam after a match on 5/31 in Lincoln, MI as according to one source, the decision may date back to the Backlash PPV and the finishing move of the Dean Malenko vs. Scotty 2 Hotty match. Malenko delivered a dangerous looking DDT off the top rope that 2 Hotty didn't take the bump right off, which looked spectacular, but also very dangerous, although he was fine from the bump. There has to be concern due to the injury last year to Darren Drozdov, who is still confined to a wheelchair, and a second incident, combined with the Owen Hart death, could result in another round of negative media publicity about wrestling being out of control. Tazz some time back had been told to limit his suplexes, and the real dangerous ones where a wrestler could land on his head he was already not allowed to use. Perry Saturn was also told to change his finisher from the brainbuster to an elbow drop off the top rope about two weeks ago. The sad fact is that whether wrestling is or isn't out of control, the attempts by one company to lessen the risks will likely wind up attempting to be exploited by its main competitor.

The New Jersey state assembly passed a bill that appears to be designed to regulate so-called "extreme wrestling," but upon further inspection, is clearly designed to shut down Jersey All Pro Wrestling and Combat Zone Wrestling while ignoring any abuses within the world of pro wrestling.

The bill must pass the senate and get the vote of Governor Christine Whitman (who has already come out publicly in support of the legislation) before being enacted.

As the bill is worded, wrestling is broken down into three categories. "Professional wrestling" specifically in law designated as WWF, WCW and ECW, is, "an activity in which participants struggle (hand-in-hand) hand-to-hand primarily for the purpose of providing entertainment to spectators rather than conducting a bona fide athletic contest."

"Wrestling" is termed, "a bona fide athletic contest in which participants struggle hand-in-hand with the object of winning by throwing an opponent or scoring points and in which any purpose of providing entertainment is secondary."

"Extreme wrestling," is described as, "an activity in which participants struggle hand-to-hand and cut, slash or strike each other or themselves with an implement to intentionally cause bleeding or perform any intention act which could reasonably be expected to cause bleeding, primarily for the purpose of providing entertainment to spectators rather than conducting a bona fide athletic contest."

Would slicing a forehead with a razor, as occasionally happens on WCW, particularly with Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, happens on most WWF PPV shows in the main event and at many TV tapings, and happens routinely on most ECW house shows, often several times per show, fit into the definition of extreme wrestling? Well, it wouldn't, because the bill is specifically designed to shut other people down.

In the bill it reads, "The legislature further finds and declares that, because its principal purpose is to entertain without injuring or disabling one of the participants, professional wrestling should be excluded from this system of regulation and control. The legislature further finds and declares that, because its principal purpose is to entertain by having its participants intentionally cause bleeding, or perform acts which reasonably could be expected to cause bleeding, extreme wrestling should be distinguished from professional wrestling. The emphasis on dangerous stunts that cause injury and bleeding make extreme wrestling potentially harmful to its participants. Furthermore, the atmosphere of base violence and depravity that prevails at an extreme wrestling event has a deleterious effect on children and young adults. Moreover, the liberal bloodletting that characterizes many extreme wrestling events constitutes a public health hazard not only for the participants, but also the spectators. For all of these reasons, extreme wrestling should be subject to strict state regulation.

"Because the creativity of those who seek to profit from vulgarity cannot be underestimated, the State Athletic Control Board should be given a proper amount of latitude to regulate the attendant excesses of extreme wrestling that presently exist and that could be incorporated into extreme wrestling events in the future."

Now, of course, ECW doesn't fit into this description, nor does WWF or WCW. No form of wrestling attempts to have disabling injuries. They do happen because it is a dangerous profession. Reckless stunts are far too routine in every promotion and we've come literally inches from numerous serious tragedies. If Jeff Hardy were to appear on a WWF show and do a swanton off a 12-foot ladder through a table, that would not be considered a dangerous stunt. If he were to do so on a Jersey All Pro show, it would. If New Jack were to jump from a balcony through a table on an ECW show, it wouldn't be dangerous. But if he were to do so on a Combat Zone show, it would. Stupidity like wrestling in matches with mouse traps as a gimmick is an insane risk on a Combat Zone show, but brawling in a horse stall with a live horse who hasn't been "smartened up," if it's on WCW, is just typical harmless TV fare that's forgotten five minutes later. Intentional blading isn't harmful to the participants in WCW, nor is the base violence of a hardcore match in ECW having any deleterious effect on children. The 6,000 or so children who chant for women to show their puppies or scream when asked if there are any pimps up in this house at the Meadowlands aren't being harmed because there is no attempt by the participants to injure one another, but the half dozen kids at a Combat Zone show watching guys who can't work jump through tables and have bad matches and who are also not trying to injure one another, constitute a menace to our society.

For wrestlers who work in New Jersey, there is no distinction of wrestlers who need a license because they are extreme wrestlers as opposed to pro wrestlers who don't need a license, other than this: "The board shall promulgate rules that differentiate an extreme wrestler from a professional wrestler, and an extreme wrestling event from a professional wrestling event. If a person is unsure whether he or she is an extreme wrestler, or if a promoter is unsure whether the event being promoted is an extreme wrestling event, it shall be the obligation of the person or the promoter, as appropriate, to consult the board for a ruling."

It should be noted, that ECW, which bills itself as Extreme wrestling, isn't considered extreme wrestling despite it actually going to court to try and claim it has the trademark nationally to use the term extreme within wrestling, for no reason as to its product other than the law says it isn't. Having the Queen of Extreme just isn't extreme enough to need a license.

Now here's where it gets dirty. "An extreme wrestler or promoter of an extreme wrestling event who fails to apply for the required approvals, permits and licenses, or a promoter of an extreme wrestling event who knowingly admits a person under the age of 18 to an extreme wrestling event shall be subject to civil penalty of not less than $5,000 for an offense."

A pro wrestling promoter can hold shows without a license. An extreme wrestling promoter not only needs a license, but must, at least 20 business days before holding an event, notify the director of public safety within the municipality the event is planned and receive approval in writing. If the municipality doesn't have a director of public safety, the governing body shall designate a public safety official for the duties. This allows cities, with no just cause needed, to ban a wrestling promotion by designating it extreme wrestling, from appearing within their city limits, even if that promotion has never committed a fraudulent act. In fact, by their lack of regulation, major promotions have carte blanche to defraud the public in New Jersey because the top promotions are specifically exempt from regulation.

An extreme wrestling show with be levied an athletic tax of 3% of the first $25,000 and 4% of the next $50,000 (as if). A big three promotion isn't taxed at all in this manner. For television rights, including cable, or closed circuit, an extreme wrestling promoter is taxed 5% on the first $50,000, if they actually can get a TV deal. Pro wrestling isn't taxed at all in this manner.

And where extreme wrestling gets killed is that promoters have to carry medical insurance covering all their wrestlers (which is fine, and should also be the case for pro wrestlers, but isn't), and there must be two qualified physicians and an ambulance at all events. The cost of two physicians and an ambulance to a group that draws 125 to 350 fans may be cost prohibitive, but such is not necessary for groups that routinely draw anywhere from 1,000 to 20,000 and don't have ambulances except for props at TV tapings and often don't have doctors on the road.

Tatsuhito Takaiwa pinned usual tag team partner Shinjiro Otani in 18:35 to win the annual New Japan Best of the Super Junior tournament in the finals on 6/9 at Osaka Chuo Gymnasium before 6,200 fans.

Takaiwa & Otani, the current IWGP jr. tag team champions, were named Wrestling Observer Newsletter's tag team of the year in 1998, and finished third in the same balloting for 1999. The finish saw Takaiwa score a pin after a death valley bomb and a lariat in 18:35. With the win, Takaiwa will get the next shot at IWGP jr. champ Jushin Liger, who pulled himself from the tournament in order to make the tournament be for the top contendership.

Otani clinched his spot in the finals and went 5-0 in the B block round robin beating defending champion Kendo Ka Shin on 6/7 in Imabari with an armbar. Takaiwa went to the finals by virtue of a win on 6/8 in Takamatsu over Gran Hamada, to finish 4-1 in the B block, one ahead of both Hamada and Koji Kanemoto, who finished 3-2. Kanemoto on 6/7, was pinned by Dr. Wagner Jr., to eliminate him from contention. It was a rematch of their spectacular final in the 1998 tournament won by Kanemoto.

The tournament, which, the Super J Cup in April, was nowhere up to the level of its predecessors due to a lack of top outside talent, particularly when WCW canceled Juventud Guerrera and Billy Kidman, although the cancellations were not unexpected.

Final standings were, in the A block, Takaiwa at 4-1, Hamada and Kanemoto at 3-2, El Samurai and Wagner at 2-3 and Shinya Makabe at 1-4. In the B block, it was Otani at 5-0 (which almost guaranteed that he'd lose in the finals), Ka Shin and Minoru Tanaka at 3-2, Katsumi Usuda at 2-3 and Kid Romeo and Minoru Fujita at 1-4.

At the Osaka show, not only was the championship decided, but there were six singles matches with wrestlers in each position (first vs. first, second vs. second, third vs. third, etc.) in each block against one another to determine a final placing. With ties in stands, I'm presuming the placing was determined based on their head-to-head match.

Makabe pinned Fujita of Michinoku Pro to take 11th place using the german suplex. Wagner of EMLL pinned Romeo of WCW in 8:33 with a Michinoku Driver for 9th place. Samurai pinned Usuda of Battlarts in 8:57 to take seventh. Ka Shin made Kanemoto submit to a leglock in 7:42 to take fifth. In the third place match, Tanaka of Battlarts used a kneelock submission of Hamada of Michinoku Pro in 8:01.

Previous New Japan round-robin junior heavyweight tournament results: 1/1 to 2/7/84 - Dynamite Kid pinned The Cobra (George Takano); 1/2 to 2/6/86 - Kuniaki Kobayashi pinned The Cobra; 1/4 to 2/7/88 - Shiro Koshinaka pinned Hiroshi Hase; 1/5 to 1/31/91 - Jushin Liger won via points over Owen Hart and Hiro Saito; 4/15 to 4/30/91 - Norio Honaga pinned Jushin Liger; 4/16 to 4/30/92 - Jushin Liger pinned El Samurai; 5/25 to 6/15/93 - Pegasus Kid (Chris Benoit) pinned El Samurai; 5/26 to 6/13/94 - Jushin Liger pinned Super Delfin; 6/23 to 7/13/95 - Wild Pegasus (Benoit) pinned Shinjiro Otani; 5/24 to 6/12/96 - Black Tiger (Eddy Guerrero) pinned Jushin Liger; 5/16 to 6/5/97 - El Samurai pinned Koji Kanemoto; 5/16 to 6/3/98 - Koji Kanemoto pinned Dr. Wagner Jr.; 5/19 to 6/3/99 - Kendo Ka Shin beat Koji Kanemoto.

The Ultimate Fighting Championships, faced with competition on PPV in the United States from Pride and in Canada from both Pride and World Extreme, working on a tight budget, unlike the other companies that don't seem to worry about losing money to produce spectacular shows, couldn't have picked a worst time to have the worst show in the company's history.

UFC, because of its time budget, has been pushing one-match cards, where they have on paper a strong main event and fill the card out with fighters willing to work for $1,000 to $3,000 payoffs. Sometimes the booking is really illogical because fighters that lose seem to have a better chance at returning than fighters who win and rarely are there matches with any story going into them.

Coming off a disaster on its last American show in March, when a show built around a Kevin Randleman vs. Pedro Rizzo heavyweight title match with no big names on the undercard, saw the main event not take place when Randleman suffered a concussion slipping backstage early in the show, leading to all replays of the show being canceled by DirecTV because of the nature of the advertising and the match not appearing. That show was somewhat saved by the fact it had a strong undercard, not as far as name value, but a lot of the fighters who came in with no names delivered some good action. This was followed by another lackluster show from Japan. But after finally getting Randleman and Rizzo in the ring, the result on 6/9 before a small crowd estimated at 1,100 in Cedar Rapids, IA at the Five Seasons Center, was a perplexing match with little action, compared by many to the second Ken Shamrock vs. Dan Severn match in Detroit, where it was largely dancing with few blows thrown. As the match went on, the crowd grew more and more hostile, eventually booing heavily and throwing things by the end of the match.

But even on the Shamrock-Severn show in Detroit, they at least had the benefit of a strong undercard. Things couldn't have been worse on this show. They had two good matches on the show that took place before the PPV started. Unfortunately, because the regular PPV matches were so lengthy, there was no free time to put them on the show. On the PPV, the only match that looked really good, ended in the first disqualification finish in UFC history. The only thing announced as far as a future was a 9/22 show in New Orleans, headlined by Tito Ortiz, with no opponent named, or for that matter, even hinted about either on the air or for that matter, even among company insiders.

It appears, now that there are fewer submission finishes, from the recent Pride, WEF and UFC shows, that the pendulum is swinging back to it being dominated by wrestlers. What was a shock is that Randleman was able to win the decision over Rizzo in a match which was mainly standing.

The performance of Rizzo, or lack thereof, was a complete mystery. For most of the fight, he was able to avoid Randleman's takedowns, a scenario, which over 25:00, should have resulted in him using his superior stand-up skill to chop Randleman down and put him away. Randleman's game plan on paper going in theoretically would have been to take Rizzo down, which he did in the first round, thereby negate his kickboxing skill. But Rizzo showed little of that skill, and Randleman was comfortable standing with him, and actually connected on better punches. Rizzo bruised Randleman's massive thigh with a few leg kicks, but did little else. Rizzo had suffered swelling above his left eye from taking a head-butt in training, and those at the show said he didn't appear to be his usual confident self going into the fight. Randleman was able to connect with several blows, to make the swelling really ugly, as the match wore on. In the third round, there was an accidental collision of heads. Rizzo complained about being head-butted, which opened up the bridge of his nose and he after the fight needed nine stitches to close the wound. Randleman also had a knot on the side of his head from the collision. From that point on, even though Rizzo fought nearly three full rounds, he was said to have remembered nothing, basically did nothing even though the game was played on his court, and after the match in the dressing room had no idea if he had won or lost the fight.

In an incident that didn't appear on the show, there was a near confrontation between Extreme Challenge heavyweight champion Bobby Hoffman and Ken Shamrock. Although it also came across like a pro wrestling angle, the belief among those close to the situation was that it wasn't, or if it was, Shamrock wasn't aware of it. Hoffman was yelling at Alex Andrade, a Lions Den fighter from Dallas who had the distinction of being the first fighter ever disqualified in a UFC match for, after two warnings, continually throwing kicks while wearing shoes. Although UFC rules allow for kicking with approved shoes, in the Iowa State Athletic Commission bylaws regarding this sport, a fighter can't kick with any shoes. At the rules meeting, this was explained and Andrade and his team made the decision, even though his natural instincts include kicking, to give up the kicks for the traction the shoes give a fighter. But once the match started, he reverted to instinct, and after two warnings about kicking, ref John McCarthy had no choice but to DQ him for a third kick, which prematurely ended what had been a great fight. Hoffman yelling at Andrade led to Shamrock yelling back at Hoffman, which the crowd was going nuts for.

A. In a heavyweight dark match, Ian Freeman, who lost on his previous UFC appearance, beat late replacement Nate Schroder in 2:13 via tap out from punches and knees after a take down. Said to be pretty good.

B. In what from live reports was unanimously considered the best match on the show, Shonie Carter won a decision after 10:00 (two rounds) over Adrian Serrano in a battle of EFC regulars.

1. Jenz Pulver, 149, defeated Joao Roque, 149, via decision after 15:00 (three rounds) in a boring match. Pulver was another fighter who often kicks, but gave up the kicks in order to wear shoes. Roque is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter of some renown, and spent the entire fight trying to take Pulver down. He wasn't able to do so, and Pulver landed more damage standing up. Some felt this was a bad decision in that Roque was at least attempting, and not succeeding at takedowns, while Pulver was mainly counterpunching and it was an overall boring match, but I'd disagree about it being a bad decision. First round was uneventful as described. Second round saw Roque finally get a takedown, but Pulver immediately reversed him, threw a few body punches on the ground, and then stood up. Third round saw Roque again unable to take Pulver down, but Pulver not being aggressive on his feet.

2. Matt Hughes, 169, defeated Marcelo Aguiar, 169, in 4:37 when the match was stopped due to blood. Hughes got hit shooting in, but overpowered Aguiar, taking him down and delivered an elbow to the forehead, as well as head and body shots. Hughes pounded on Aguiar, who was bleeding badly above the right eye when the match was stopped.

3. Amoury Bitetti, 195, beat Alex Andrade, 196, via DQ in :48 of the second round. The first round was hot with Bitetti landing a lot of punches early. Andrade dropped him late in the round with a left, and when he went down, Andrade kicked him in the head for his first foul. Andrade put him down a second time and started taking over standing with body blows, but threw an inadvertent leg kick for a second foul. It appeared Andrade was about to pick him apart, but early i the second round, Andrade, wearing shoes, threw a kick, cutting Bitetti bad near the eye, for the disqualification. Bitetti appeared on the verge of losing right at the time the match ended.

4. Pat Miletich, 169, retained the UFC lightweight title beating an overmatched John Alessio, 169, in 1:43 of the second round. Miletich took Alessio down in the first round and did a good job with body and head blows. Second round saw Miletich slam Alessio down, got the mount and maneuvered into a nice looking armbar. Miletich was the most popular fighter on the show since he's from the area.

5. Tyrone Roberts, 199, beat David Dodd, 199, via decision after three rounds. Roberts got a bloody nose early but took Dodd down in the first round and kept him there. Roberts took him down again in the second round. Dodd got away but didn't do much damage. Third round was both on their feet. Dodd showed little movement while Roberts got a few face shots in an overall boring match.

6. Randleman, 219, defeated Rizzo, 232, via decision in 25:00 to retain the UFC heavyweight title. Randleman, who is an incredible athlete, actually hurdled the cage like a pro wrestler hurdling the top rope for his entrance. He started doing his trademark jumping in the air with the springs he calls legs, and actually landed wrong and nearly twisted his ankle, which would have been a killer had the fight not taken place again. Rizzo came in with his eye already puffy from a training injury. Randleman took Rizzo down at 1:42 of the first round and kept him there, throwing enough blows to swell the eye up worse and Rizzo was bleeding. In the second round, they were on their feet and literally nothing happened. At the very end of the round, they traded a leg kick by Rizzo for a punch to the face by Randleman. During the third round, they collided heads. Rizzo's eye was swelling shut and he finally threw a few leg kicks, but Randleman was able to take him down late in the round and got a good shot in. In the fourth round, they were standing and again nothing was happening. The crowd got restless and was booing heavily and the Severn-Shamrock II comparisons began. Rizzo's eye was looking horrible. Randleman's leg was bruised up from the few leg kicks. In the fifth round, nothing happened again except Randleman hitting one good knee. Fans were throwing things starting in the later stages of the round and it got really ugly. I suppose if this was pro wrestling, some people would try and fool themselves that they were getting heat, but I don't think at UFC anyone was pretending this was anything less than the disaster it appeared to be.

If there's one thing consistent about television biographies on wrestling, and in particular if it's either Hulk Hogan or Vince McMahon and 1980s wrestling, it's that because wrestling, unlike real sports or entertainment which has documented history, wrestling is one where the people at the top make up their own history.

With that in mind, you have to view that Hogan bio on A&E on 6/13 as kind of dull in parts and running from almost any controversy. The closest thing to real analysis on the show was done after the show itself was completed, when, after a negative review of the show by Alex Marvez because they failed to point out Hogan was part of the reason for the decline and fall of the WCW Empire, the closing comments mentioned that WCW had declined in ratings and popularity and blamed it squarely on promoting wrestlers that were too old.

The rest was the world according to Hulk Hogan and his best friends, his wife, his parents (who were actually the most believable people in the show, particularly when they were genuinely upset at Hogan's heel turn because they said they felt he sent a bad message doing so) and his wrestling buddies like Gene Okerlund, Ed Leslie, Brian Yandrisovitz (Knobs), Bill Apter and of course Jimmy Hart. Much of the storyline about wrestling going from a regional operation to national and becoming bigger, and Hogan being the biggest star during that transition period, was accurate. But the contributions of many others, most notable of which was Vince McMahon, in all this, was terribly underplayed. It is at least an arguable point that Hogan is the biggest star in the history of the business as his friends tried to portray him, a point many complained about.

They had some interesting home movie footage of Hogan as a child and unlike in most bios, never brought up his Little League baseball stardom, but instead painted his childhood as someone who was teased by kids because his head was so large. He told a story about pinning the high school wrestling coach which sounded straight out of "The Rock Says," and changed his worked story of getting into wrestling after a working at a bank and seeing the size of the check a wrestler was cashing to what in wrestling lore was the more accurate story of having a confrontation with a wrestler in a bar that was hitting on his girlfriend where he was playing bass (the wrestler being legendary Jack Brisco) and being sent to Hiro Matsuda's school in Tampa, and Hogan was one of Matsuda's famous victims, breaking his ankle on the first day.

Some of the time frames and stories weren't quite so accurate. The story said he was wrestling Andre the Giant (who they called 7-0 and 500 pounds, although they also said Hogan was 6-7, and 300 today) before 50,000 fans at Shea Stadium in 1980 (actually 36,295 as the semifinal on the Bruno Sammartino vs. Larry Zbyszko show) when he got a telegram from Sylvester Stallone about doing the Rocky III movie. Actually Terry Funk, who had done several movies with Stallone, recommended Hogan for the part. He claimed he was fired by Vince Sr. for doing the movie and had to find work in Japan. The truth was that Vince Sr. was the one who booked him regularly in Japan since the WWF supplied talent to New Japan at that time, and he started going shortly after his WWF debut and was a bigger star in Japan than in the United States so was up to touring 16 weeks per year. Heels generally stayed for a one year run in the WWF before going elsewhere and Hogan's time was up and he, as wrestlers of that era did, went to a new territory, the AWA, where he never worked full-time because he had higher paid deal in New Japan. It correctly pointed out that Hogan became a babyface in the AWA after being a heel in the WWF, and showed an old Jesse Ventura interview regarding their feud. It overplayed their feud as Hogan had many programs in the AWA, and while Ventura was one of them, it's only the most famous today because Ventura is a Governor and at the time Hogan's biggest feuds were with Ken Patera, Jerry Blackwell, Masa Saito, David Shults and the biggest money matches were challenging Nick Bockwinkel for the AWA title. He had some single and tag matches with Ventura, and for the interview build up, they were somewhat strong because both could talk, but it still wasn't the money program that he had with Bockwinkel and manager Bobby Heenan.

Of course Vince Jr. raided him from Gagne and the rest is history. It claimed he earned $10 million per year in the 80s, which is probably double reality. They admitted critics didn't like his movies but tried to portray them as box office successes, which they generally weren't. He claimed to have wrestled 400 times per year, which he never did, and quite frankly, nobody ever did despite older wrestlers' claims. In the AWA, they ran an easier schedule by the standards of the time of generally about 15 shows per month, and even fewer in the summer, and since the main eventers were paid well by the standards of the time and it wasn't the 300 day a year grind that other promotions had, a lot of the older wrestlers liked working the territory. In the WWF, he always had a cush schedule compared to everyone else, only working the major cities and using Jim Duggan as his understudy when the tour would hit the smaller towns, and probably never worked more than 150 days per year as champion and usually closer to 100. He rarely worked house shows for WCW, and had many TV tapings off so probably never worked more than 100 dates any year since the early 90s.

They claimed his image was hurt by admitting using steroids in the 1994 trial of Vince McMahon and Jimmy Hart pointed out how unfair it was he was singled out. The truth is his image was hurt in 1991 when he lied on Arsenio Hall claiming he had never taken steroids, and it was in 1992 when his vitamin company went out of business. By 1994, the steroid pressure, which saw him retire for the first time due to the fallout of his lies in 1991 and 1992, was long forgotten. The story claimed Hogan admitted that he used steroids early in his career when they were legal. His actual testimony was that he started doing them in 1976, and never gave an ending date to his using them other than he was still using them in 1989 when the McMahon lawyers thought he quit, but his actual testimony was that he was still using them for some time thereafter, and talked about under oath getting into one of the biggest fights ever with his wife because she found out he was still using them after he had promised to stop. On ESPN's "Outside the Lines" special on wrestling just last year, two sources, one of whom was Melanie Pillman, fingered Hogan as the person who made the connection for wrestlers, including Brian Pillman, with Dr. Edmund Chein of Palm Springs, CA as far as distribution of Growth Hormone. I think most people today aren't naive enough about physique enhancing drugs not to know from watching television and the rapid physique changes as to when he was and wasn't chemically enhanced and when. He acted as if he was the major witness in the McMahon trial, which he was and wasn't. The major witness were Emily Feinberg and Anita Scales in the trial, but Hogan absolutely was the most publicized witness due to his name. His testimony, which contradicted that of Feinberg's, most likely would have resulted in McMahon getting off on the distribution charge, although since there was a legal technicality, him saying his testimony had any bearing whatsoever in the case was untrue. The alleged crime would have taken place in Connecticut if there actually had been a crime, not in the Eastern District of New York, so the weak charge of distribution to Hogan by McMahon was technically thrown out before going to the jury on the venue technicality although if it hadn't, Hogan's testimony likely would have helped McMahon and not the Government. That didn't stop McMahon from railing on Hogan afterwards about it anyway.

It portrayed Hogan as quitting the WWF in 1994 (actually it was the previous year) because he was tired of the pressure, and doing "Thunder in Paradise," acting like he had quit wrestling, which is the story everyone wants to tell but the reality was he was working big shows for New Japan at $125,000 per shot starting in his WWF days (a deal WWF wasn't happy with him taking while he still worked for them but he was a big enough star to get away with it) and all through the 10 months he was away from the U.S. scene. They credited Hogan with the ratings soaring for WCW as a face, and Hogan was the headliner on Nitro for the first several months with the ratings basically staying at an even level, although his presence skyrocketed buy rates for the company. When he turned heel and the NWO was formed, the ratings did soar and he was undeniably a major part of the reason at the time. The story about his heel turn was funny, about he and Jimmy Hart noticing a few boos, when in fact, depending upon the city in late 1995 and early 1996, in about half the cities, particularly in the Southeast and the major metropolitan cities, he was getting booed out of the building the way probably no top babyface in history had ever been turned on by the fans. It was hardly a gutsy move to make the turn. It was either retire because he was useless as a face nobody would cheer, or turn heel and he was a success as a heel with the NWO. Hogan said that he started getting cheered as a heel which turned into a political problem because all the babyfaces in the territory became crybabies. The truth was, the heels would never put the faces over, and the faces were getting destroyed, which eventually fueled the fall, which started in the Carolinas and one year later spread to the entire country largely based on not following the formula that killed franchises in real sports when the local fans have given up hope of the home team ever winning. It was more Kevin Nash and Scott Hall being cheered, since only in select cities would fans cheer Hogan or Eric Bischoff. What was hilarious was Knobs saying how wrestling fans used to have no teeth and because of Hogan, people like Natalie Cole and Liberace were in the front row, showing photos when actually they were paid celebrity guests at Wrestlemanias and not examples of people who paid for wrestling tickets and their appearance had only to do with McMahon's paycheck and nothing to do with Hogan's changing wrestling.

But the best quote of all was last, when Apter said, "If it wasn't for Hulk Hogan, I don't know if wrestling would be around at this point."

On a night where both shows put forth PPV type line-ups, the audience for wrestling went way up, but most of the increase was for Raw, despite Nitro coming off its PPV show with so much hyped and at stake.

The final numbers saw Raw at 6.84 (6.31 first hour; 7.31 second hour) and a 10.8 share. Nitro drew a 3.00 rating (3.19 first hour; 2.84 second hour) and a 4.8 share. The head-to-head figures was 6.27 for Raw and 2.84 for Nitro as the total wrestling audience grew to 10.6 million viewers, up 13% from last week and the highest total for any Monday since 1/24.

The most interesting number head-to-head was WWF putting forth what should have been its lowest rated segment, a Crash Holly vs. Gerald Brisco hardcore title match, which did a 6.42 rating, and still slightly more than doubled the rating of Nitro's main event, Nash vs. Goldberg in Goldberg's first match since turning heel the night before, which did a 3.19. Raw's Rock vs. Kane main event did a 7.22 final quarter and a 8.04 over-run. The HHH vs. Jericho title match also drew a monster 7.70 rating. A full 40% of the Nitro audience switched to Raw when the show ended just before the start of the HHH-Jericho match, which is a much higher figure than usual and the main event was viewed by approximately 9.4 million fans.

The head-to-head segments saw Raw at 5.59 (Rock, Kane, Undertaker, Linda & Faction interview) to 2.82 (Russo & Flair angle and beginning of Hogan vs. Jarrett), Raw at 6.11 (ending of opening angle; X-Pac vs. Malenko) to 2.88 (Hogan vs. Jarrett, Page interview), Raw at 6.57 (Lita vs. Stephanie, Too Cool vs. T&A) to 2.56 (Vampiro vs. Demon and beginning of Scott Steiner vs. Kanyon), Raw at 6.67 (Dudleys vs. McMahons) to 3.01 (ending of Kanyon vs. Steiner, Ric & Reid vs. Russo & David) and the final segment was the Crash Holly vs. Goldberg head-to-head.

Smackdown on 6/8 drew a 5.00 rating (equivalent to a 5.88 realistic rating), peaking at 5.7 for the Rock & Undertaker & Kane vs. DX main event.

Thunder on 6/7 drew a 2.50 rating and 4.1 share. The show peaked at 2.82 for the ending of the Wall vs. Mamalukes and the Nash vs. Abbott "match." There was also a 2.73 for most of Palumbo & Stasiak vs. Rection & Bro and the beginning of Sting vs. Vampiro. It fell to 2.35 for the ending of Sting vs. Vampiro and the Hogan promo, before dropping to 2.07 for the Steiner running the gauntlet main event.

Weekend ratings for 6/10-11 saw Live Wire at 1.3 (fourth highest show of the day on the station), Superstars at 1.7 (third highest) and Sunday Night Heat at 2.66 (highest). WCW Saturday Night drew a 1.3 rating (6th highest of the day, which is basically the lowest of the day since it was the lowest rated show on the station between 10 a.m. and 12:15 a.m.).

ECW on 6/9 drew an 0.83 rating and a 1.6 share. RollerJam followed at 0.57, while Motor Madness did an 0.69. ECW started at 0.61 and 0.65, which are very low opens, and it should be noted that first 30 minutes contained virtually no wrestling which coincided with those numbers. There was a big jump when the matches started to an 0.89 for Raven vs. Anton and 1.01 for the Dreamer & Sandman vs. Credible & Rhino main event.

The AAA/EMLL block on Galavision on 6/6 drew a 1.9 Hispanic rating and a 3.3 among the target Male 18-34 demographic.


Traditional Observer PPV poll results based on phone calls, fax messages and e-mails to the Observer as of Tuesday, 6/13.

WCW GREAT AMERICAN BASH: Thumbs up 27 (11.7%), Thumbs down 191 (80.3%), In the middle 13 (5.5%). BEST MATCH: Ric Flair vs. David Flair 72. WORST MATCH: Sting vs. Vampiro 40, Scott Steiner vs. Tank Abbott & Rick Steiner 24, Shane Douglas vs. Wall 8

UFC: Thumbs up 0 (0.0%), Thumbs down 112 (100.0%), In the middle 0 (0.0%). BEST MATCH: Matt Hughes vs. Marcelo Aguiar 28, Adrian Serrano vs. Shonie Carter 19 (*this was a dark match, based on live show reports), Alex Andrade vs. Amoury Bitetti 19, Jenz Pulver vs. Joao Roque 16. WORST MATCH: Kevin Randleman vs. Pedro Rizzo 96


Results of the daily poll on the eyada.com web site. New questions will be up every day at approximately 3 p.m. Eastern time with the results being announced at the start of the Wrestling Observer Live internet audio show the following day as well as each week here.

What did you think of Monday night's (6/5) wrestling? a) Raw was better 51%; b) Nitro was better 32%; c) Didn't watch Raw 1%; d) Didn't watch Nitro 8%; e) Didn't watch Raw or Nitro 8%

Who do you think will win King of the Ring? a) Chris Benoit 21%; b) Chris Jericho 16%; c) Kurt Angle 55%; d) Rikishi 3%; e) Other 5%

How do you view the wrestling PPV shows? a) Order them yourself at home 35%; b) Have friends over to chip in the costs 15%; c) Watch at a friend's house 10%; d) Have someone tape the show for you 8%; e) Have a descrambler box 32%

Up to this point, who is your pick for Wrestler of the Year? a) Hunter Hearst Helmsley 39.7%; b) Rock 5.2%; c) Kenta Kobashi 4.3%; d) Mitsuharu Misawa 1.7%; e) Other 49.1%

What did you think of the Great American Bash PPV? a) Thumbs up 32.5%; b) Thumbs down 25.9%; c) In the middle 10.2%: d) Didn't see the show 31.5% (Editors note: There was evidence of tampering with these poll numbers as there were drastic changes from the early very strongly negative figures)

This is the final issue of the current four-issue set. If you've got a (1) on your address label, your Observer subscription expires with this issue.

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Upcoming shows covered will be 6/25 WWF King of the Ring, 7/9 WCW Bash at the Beach, 7/16 ECW Heat Wave, 7/23 WWF Fully Loaded, 8/13 WCW New Blood Live, 8/27 WWF SummerSlam and also 8/27 DSE Pride 10 from the Seibu Dome.

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6/3 Carolina, PR (WWC - 2,800): Bouncers Bob & Bruno b El Profe & El Enjabonao, Invader III b Rico Suave (Big Japan Crazy Sheik aka Julio Estrada), El Exotico b Back Boy, Street fight: Richie Santiago b El Rockero, Carlos Colon b Big Dick Dudley-DQ, Cage match: Carly Colon b Jose Rivera Jr., Dutch Mantel & El Bronco b Invader I & Titan-DQ, Universal title: Ray Gonzalez b Abdullah the Butcher-DQ, WWC tag titles: Thunder & Lightning b Pitbulls

6/3 Tulsa (Oklahoma Pro Wrestling): Tom Jones & Big Daddy Moore b New Besis, Heather Savage b Venom, Bull Schmitt b Stud Lee, One Man Gang b Luscious Larry, Jimmy Snuka b Shawn Summers, Dark Angel b Slash, Doug the Thug b Rick Garrett, Rocco Valentino b Brian Cruze, Jake Roberts b Honky Tonk Man

6/4 Utrecht, The Netherlands (RINGS - 3,500): Brian La An Joe b Kaderi, Fred Van Doesburg b Rick Rootliep, Sander Mackilljan b Renaldo Rikhoff, Stephen Tapilatu b Jeffrey Heimz, Aziz b Ricardo Flame, Valentijn Overeem b Faith Kocamis, Glen Brasdorp b Big Mo T-DQ, Jerrel Venetiaan b Dave van de Veen, Joop Kasteel b Lee Hasdell, Rob van Esdonck b Peter Verschuuren, Semmy Schiltt b Yoshihisa Yamamoto

6/4 Sonora (AAA TV tapings): Octagoncito & Mascarita Sagrada b Rocky Marvin & Mini Abismo Negro-DQ, AAA Mascara Sagrada & Oscar Sevilla & Torero b Espectro Jr. & Mocho Cota & Toro Irisson, Mexican national tag titles: Abismo Negro & Electro Shock b La Parka Jr. & Hector Garza, Heavy Metal & Perro Aguayo Jr. & El Alebrije b Cibernetico & El Texano & Sangre Chicana

6/6 Buffalo (WWF Smackdown/Heat tapings - 11,636): Dupps b Taka Michinoku & Sho Funaki, Joe E. Legend b Rob Etchevarria, Four-way for IC title: Chris Benoit won over Val Venis, Bob Holly and Chris Jericho, Buh Buh Ray Dudley b Big Bossman, Perry Saturn b D-Von Dudley, European title: Eddy Guerrero b Crash Holly, D-Lo Brown b Steve Blackman-DQ, Jericho b Test, Tag titles: Too Cool b Godfather & Dean Malenko, IC title: Benoit b Jeff Hardy, Dudleys b Edge & Christian & Kurt Angle, Lita won womens Battle Royal, Womens title: Stephanie McMahon b Lita, Guerrero b Matt Hardy, Rikishi Phatu b Val Venis-DQ, Undertaker & Kane & Rock b Hunter Hearst Helmsley & X-Pac & Road Dogg

6/6 Knoxville, TN (WCW Thunder/World Wide tapings - 3,088/1,906 paid): Alan Funk & Mike Sanders b Kory Williams & Ashley Hudson, Chris Candido b Christopher Daniels, Vampiro b Crowbar, Three-way for cruiserweight title: Lt. Loco (Chavo Guerrero Jr.) won over Daffney and Disco Inferno to win title, Billy Kidman b Sgt. Stash, Hardcore title: Mamalukes b Wall, Kevin Nash b Tank Abbott-DQ, Mike Awesome NC Lash Leroux, Tag titles: Chuck Palumbo & Sean Stasiak b Captain Rection & G.I. Bro, Scott Steiner b Candido, Scott Steiner b Stasiak, Scott Steiner b Palumbo

6/6 Monterrey (Ind): Rey Tirano & Mr. Zeus b Junior & Begali, Disk Joker & Los Orientales I & II b Neon & Crazy Demon & Jungla Negra Jr.-DQ, Damian & Charles Lucero & Diluvio Negro II b Mega & Kato Sigama & Gitano del Norte, Pierroth Jr. & Gran Markus Jr. & Zumbido b Silver Star & Super Calo & Brazo de Plata

6/7 Imabari (New Japan - 2,000): Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kid Romeo b Wataru Inoue & Shinya Makabe, Minoru Fujita & El Samurai b Katsumi Usuda & Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Dr. Wagner Jr. b Koji Kanemoto, Shinjiro Otani b Kendo Ka Shin, Tadao Yasuda & Osamu Nishimura & Jushin Liger b Black Cat & Kenzo Suzuki & Junji Hirata, Yutaka Yoshie & Yuji Nagata b Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Michiyoshi Ohara & Tatsutoshi Goto & Hiro Saito & Masahiro Chono b Manabu Nakanishi & Takashi Iizuka & Shiro Koshinaka & Kensuke Sasaki

6/7 Akita (All Japan - 2,400): Yoshinobu Kanemaru b Masamichi Marufuji, Masao Inoue b Takeshi Rikio, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Haruka Eigen & Masa Fuchi b Rusher Kimura & Mitsuo Momota & Kenta Kobayashi, Takao Omori & Yoshihiro Takayama b Erik Watts & Stan Hansen, Daisuke Ikeda & Yoshinari Ogawa & Mitsuharu Misawa b Makoto Hashi & Maunukea Mossman & Jun Akiyama, Mike Barton & Johnny Ace b Kentaro Shiga & Kenta Kobashi, George Hines & Johnny Smith & Steve Williams b Takeshi Morishima & Akira Taue & Toshiaki Kawada

6/8 Takamatsu (New Japan - 2,800): Shinya Makabe b Hiroshi Tanahashi, Minoru Fujita b Katsumi Usuda, Dr. Wagner Jr. & Kendo Ka Shin & El Samurai & Jushin Liger b Kid Romeo & Minoru Tanaka & Shinjiro Otani & Koji Kanemoto, Tatsuhito Takaiwa b Gran Hamada, Kenzo Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka b Tadao Yasuda & Osamu Nishimura, Junji Hirata & Shiro Koshinaka & Kensuke Sasaki b Michiyoshi Ohara & Tatsutoshi Goto & Satoshi Kojima, Yutaka Yoshie & Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata b Hiro Saito & Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Masahiro Chono

6/8 Comerio, PR (IWA - 330): Nuevo Gran Apolo d Jesus Cristobol, Fidel Sierra b Shane-DQ, Angel b Andres Borges, Cristobol b Shan Hall, Victor the Bodyguard b Miguel Perez-DQ, IWA tag titles: Andy Anderson & Head Hunter #2 b Hombre Dinamita & Ricky Banderas-DQ, Huracan Castillo Jr. b Pain-DQ

6/9 Tokyo Budokan Hall (All Japan - 16,300 sellout): Yoshinobu Kanemaru b Kenta Kobayashi 7:08, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Haruka Eigen & Masa Fuchi b Makoto Hashi & Rusher Kimura & Mitsuo Momota 10:26, Johnny Smith & George Hines b Masamichi Marufuji & Daisuke Ikeda 10:03, Stan Hansen b Takeshi Morishima 2:05, Takeshi Rikio & Masao Inoue b Erik Watts & Steve Williams 15:27, Akira Taue & Toshiaki Kawada b Mike Barton & Johnny Ace 14:35, Takao Omori & Yoshihiro Takayama b Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa 16:05, Jun Akiyama & Maunukea Mossman b Kenta Kobashi & Kentaro Shiga 17:14, Tournament finals for PWF & Intl tag titles: Taue & Kawada b Omori & Takayama to win titles 16:59

6/9 Osaka Chuo Gymnasium (New Japan - 6,200): Wataru Inoue & Kenzo Suzuki b Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tadao Yasuda 9:11, Shinya Makabe b Minoru Fujita, Dr. Wagner Jr. b Kid Romeo 8:33, El Samurai b Katsumi Usuda 8:57, Kendo Ka Shin b Koji Kanemoto 7:42, Minoru Tanaka b Gran Hamada 8:01, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima & Masahiro Chono b Osamu Nishimura & Jushin Liger & Kensuke Sasaki, Top of the Super Junior tournament finals: Tatsuhito Takaiwa b Shinjiro Otani 18:35

6/9 Las Cruces, NM (WWF - 10,738): Godfather b D-Lo Brown, Bob Holly b Al Snow, Acolytes b Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan, Lt hwt title: Dean Malenko b Crash Holly, Eddy Guerrero b Perry Saturn, Tag titles: Too Cool won three-way over Edge & Christian and Hardys, Essa Rios b Sho Funaki, Buh Buh Ray Dudley b Albert, IC title: Chris Benoit b Chris Jericho, Rikishi Phatu b Kurt Angle

6/9 Erie, PA (ECW - 300): Kid Kash b Julio Fantastico, Jerry Lynn b Hell Raiser, Danny Doring & Roadkill b C.W. Anderson & Bill Wiles, Balls Mahoney b Chris Hamrick, Nova & Chris Chetti won three-way over Tony DeVito & Angel and Simon Diamond & Johnny Swinger, ECW TV title: Rhino b Jean Pierre Lafitte, Yoshihiro Tajiri & Raven b Steve Corino & Scotty Anton, ECW title: Justin Credible b Mikey Whipwreck, Rob Van Dam b Little Guido

6/9 Mexico City Arena Mexico (EMLL): Astro Rey Jr. & Starman b Halcon Negro Jr. & Valentin Mayo, Ricky Marvin & Sombra de Plata b Virus & Fugaz-DQ, Blue Panther & Black Warrior & Fuerza Guerrera b Safari & Antifaz del Norte & Felino-DQ, Gran Markus Jr. & Universo 2000 & Mascara Ano 2000 b Rayo de Jalisco Jr. & Tinieblas Sr. & Jr., Negro Casas & Emilio Charles Jr. & Brazo de Plata NC Shocker & Zumbido & Scorpio Jr., Villano III b Pierroth Jr.-DQ

6/9 Naguabo, PR (IWA - 320): Nuevo Gran Apolo b Andres Borges, Andy Anderson b Pain, Shane b Head Hunter #2, Taka Michinoku b Jesus Cristobol, Ricky Banderas b Shan Hill, Shane & Victor the Bodyguard b Fidel Sierra & Huracan Castillo Jr.-DQ, Hombre Dinamita NC Miguel Perez

6/10 Albuquerque, NM (WWF - 10,904): Godfather b D-Lo Brown, Bob Holly b Al Snow, Lt hwt title: Dean Malenko b Crash Holly, European title: Eddy Guerrero b Perry Saturn, Dudleys b Test & Albert, IC title: Chris Benoit b Chris Jericho, Essa Rios b Sho Funaki, Three-way for tag titles: Too Cool won over Edge & Christian and Hardys, Rikishi Phatu b Kurt Angle

6/10 Pittsburgh (ECW TNN tapings - 2,700/2,300 paid): Julio Fantastico b Hell Fire, Kid Kash b E.Z. Money, Danny Doring & Roadkill b Simon Diamond & Johnny Swinger, Bill Wiles & C.W. Anderson b Chris Chetti & Nova, Yoshihiro Tajiri b Tony DeVito, Jean Pierre Lafitte b H.C. Loc, Balls Mahoney & Mikey Whipwreck b Tony Mamaluke & Sal E. Graziano, Rob Van Dam b Little Guido, ECW title: Justin Credible b Jerry Lynn

6/10 Shibukawa (FMW): Gedo b Naohiko Yamazaki, Hisakatsu Oya d Jado, Kintaro Kanemura won three-way over Yoshinori Sasaki and Flying Kid Ichihara, Hideki Hosaka & Goemon b Ruben Cruz & Michael Shane, Kaori Nakayama & Chocoball Mukai & Kyoko Inoue & Kodo Fuyuki b Emi Motokawa & Azusa Kudo & Tetsuhiro Kuroda & H

6/10 Nishine (Michinoku Pro - 310): Sumo Dandy Fuji b Kazuya Yuasu, Hiromi Yagi b Marcella, Great Sasuke & Chaparita Asari b Gran Apache & Mari Apache, Jinsei Shinzaki b Bobby Blaze, Gran Hamada & Tiger Mask & Minoru Fujita b Masaaki Mochizuki & Pentagon & Chad Collyer

6/10 Manati, PR (IWA - 520): IWA jr. title: Ismail Feliciano b Shan Hill, Jesus Cristobol b Taka Michinoku, Fidel Sierra b Angel-DQ, Street fight: Hombre Dinamita b Miguel Perez, Shane b Pain-DQ, IWA tag titles: Andy Anderson & Head Hunter b Ricky Banderas & Nuevo Gran Apolo, Lumberjack match: Huracan Castillo Jr. b Victor the Bodyguard

6/10 Memphis (Memphis Championship Wrestling/free show): Curtis Hughes & Reggie B. Fine b Danny B & Flex Stone, Reckless Youth b Fabulous Rocker, Jim Neidhart b Beaver Hunter (Tra Keller), Hammer & Playa Tyrone NC Bull Pain & Alky Holic, Pete Gas b Steven Regal, Pain b Bitty Little, Mike Anthony & ? b KingPinz, Rodney & Joey Abs b Mullets, Jerry Lawler b K.Krush

6/11 Columbia, MO (WWF - 4,932): Godfather b D-Lo Brown, European title: Eddy Guerrero b Perry Saturn, Road Dogg & X-Pac b Dudleys, Four-way for IC title: Chris Benoit won over Al Snow, Bob Holly and Chris Jericho, WWF title: Kane b Hunter Hearst Helmsley-DQ, Three-way for lt hwt title: Dean Malenko won over Sho Funaki and Essa Rios, Four-way for tag titles: Too Cool won over Edge & Christian, Hardys and Test & Albert, Rikishi Phatu b Kurt Angle

6/11 Yokohama Arena (Seikendo): Afmed Zunas b Osamu Tachihikari, Ebenezer Fontes Braga b Milzamagomedov Magomed, Kilusanov Andray b Gren Brasdepu, Borislov Igori b Giant Ochibi, Pele b Mezidov Abudouna, Dorozd Gregory b Takashi Sonoda, Srutanmagomedov Kaftas b Dick Vrij, Masaaki Satake b Dennis Podoriyatin

6/11 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (Gaea - 2,200 sellout): Sakura Hirota d Saika Takeuchi, Akira Hokuto & Mayumi Ozaki & Kaoru b Chigusa Nagayo & Meiko Satomura & Chikayo Nagashima, Devil Masami & Toshiyo Yamada b Toshie Uematsu & Bloody, Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki b Lioness Asuka & Sugar Sato

6/11 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (All Japan women - 1,919): Manami Toyota b Takako Inoue, Kayoko Haruyama b Miyuki Fujii, Yumiko Hotta b Kumiko Maekawa, Momoe Nakanishi d Miho Wakizawa, Nanae Takahashi b Kayo Noumi, Zaps I & T NC Commando Boilshoi & Azumi Hyuga

6/11 Hirosaki (Michinoku Pro - 282): Lady Apache & Marcella b Chaparita Asari & Yumiko Yagi, Susumu Mochizuki b Chad Collyer, Sumo Dandy Fuji & Bobby Blaze b Kazuyu Yuasu & Jinsei Shinzaki, Gran Hamada & Tiger Mask b Pentagon & Gran Apache, NWA middleweight title: Great Sasuke b Minoru Fujita

6/12 St. Louis Kiel Center (WWF Raw is War/Metal tapings - 14,647 sellout): Bob Holly b Stevie Richards, Godfather b Essa Rios, Scoot Andrews b Jason Lee, X-Pac b Dean Malenko, Womens title: Stephanie McMahon b Lita, Tag titles: Too Cool b Test & Albert-DQ, Tables match: Vince & Shane McMahon b Dudleys, Hardcore title: Crash Holly b Gerald Brisco to win title, WWF title: Hunter Hearst Helmsley b Chris Jericho, IC title: Chris Benoit b Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy b Christian, Rock NC Kane

6/12 Richmond, VA (WCW Nitro - 4,011/2,716 paid): Hardcore title: Big Vito b Terry Funk, Kronik b Shane Douglas & Buff Bagwell, Cruiserweight title: Lt. Loco b Artist, WCW title: Jeff Jarrett NC Hulk Hogan, Vampiro NC Demon, Scott Steiner b Chris Kanyon-DQ, Ric's career vs. Russo's job: Vince Russo & David Flair b Ric & Reid Flair, Bill Goldberg NC Kevin Nash


Special thanks to: Mike Omansky, Jeff Beecher, Tadashi Morishita, Vic Gopal, Dan Lennard, James Stanios, Steve Gerweck, Phil Jones, Alex Marvez, Bryan Alvarez, Jeff Marek, Tim Larson, Juan Martinez, Terry Valencic, Hector Ruiz, Chuck Langerman, Richard Bressler, James Hilchen, Dan Parris, Robert Bihari, Randy Rhea, Dustin Hays, Tadashi Tanaka, Zach Arnold, Gene Restaino, Trent Van Drisse, Marcel Mollica, Joe Silva, Steve Murphy, Erik Roth, Alan Smolek, Wesley Jones, Tadashi Tanaka, Fred Cook, Mike Rogen



5/27 NEW JAPAN: 1. Takaiwa pinned Makabe in 11:11 after a lariat. Only clips of the match aired, but it looked good, particularly Makabe's Benoit like rolling german suplex; 2. Kid Romeo pinned Minoru Fujita in 6:06. Romeo, who looks somewhat like The Rock's mini-me, looked really good here. Fujita is very similar to his tag team partner, Ikuto Hidaka, who worked a few months back in ECW and impressed everyone with his potential. Fujita did a nice tope, and got back up with a bloody nose. They were a little rough in spots since Romeo is new to Japan and Fujita is relatively inexperienced, but there were a lot of good moves. Romeo got the pin after a spinning pedigree and a northern lights bomb. ***; 2. Kanemoto pinned Samurai in 8:14. The first three matches on the show were all Super Junior tournament bouts. This wasn't their all-out match, but it was a very good match for what it was. Samurai spent most of the match working on Kanemoto's left knee including a really cool figure four reversal. Kanemoto ended up getting the pin after a Tiger suplex. ***1/2; 4. Nagata & Nakanishi beat Ohara & Kojima in 18:05. The last 8:00 aired. It was good. Nagata got a triangle on Kojima off a power bomb. Obviously the match wasn't nearly as good with Nakanishi in. Nakanishi beat Ohara after a spear and a torture rack. **3/4; 5. Chono & Tenzan & Norton beat Yoshie & Sasaki & Suzuki in 17:50. The last 7:00 aired. This was a very bad main event. Sasaki was never even in much during the TV portion. Suzuki looked better, but he's still green, and the less said about Chono and Norton these days, the better. Finish saw Tenzan pin Suzuki after the forearm drop off the top rope. 1/2*

6/3 NEW JAPAN: 1. Nakanishi & Nagata & Yoshie beat Chono & Kojima & Norton in 16:08. The last 8:00 aired on television. Before the match started, with Team 2000 in the ring, G-Eggs (the Nakanishi trio) was jumped doing their ring entrance by Goto & Ohara and it wound up with Brian Johnston making the save. The highlight of this match was Kojima vs. Nagata, which was hot wrestling. Unfortunately, when they weren't in, it wasn't that hot. Nagata ended up pinning Kojima with the bridging back suplex. **1/2; 2. Tanaka beat Ka Shin in 9:10 in a Super Juniors tournament match. Started out fast but slowed down. Tanaka looked very good, particularly in turning moves into submissions near the end. The finish was a great series as Tanaka did a Northern lights suplex, quickly moved into an armbar, and then moved into an ankle lock. ***1/4; 3. Takaiwa pinned Wagner Jr. in 6:30 in a hard hitting good match, but a little on the short side. ***; 4. Chono & Goto & Ohara beat Johnston & Nakanishi & Nagata in 14:30. About 5:00 aired on TV. Nagata and Ohara were very good and Johnston is finally showing some improvement. At least Norton wasn't in there this time. Finish saw Chono pin Johnston after the dreaded Yakuza kick. **1/2

MEXICO: AAA has now officially announced that the proposed U.S. tour that we figured would never take place, has been postponed

Alushe, the long-time tiny mascot of Tinieblas Sr., turned heel on 6/9 at Arena Mexico. The two were together for 20 years and this angle will probably draw more money than Goldberg's turn. What happened was they did the angle where Los Borquas kidnapped him, and they did the Patty Hearst gimmick where he started getting sympathetic to his kidnappers and is now a Borique himself and they've changed his name to Alushe Puertorriquerno. When Tinieblas found out about Alushe's turn during their match with Tinieblas & Tinieblas Jr. & Rayo de Jalisco Jr. against Gran Markus Jr. & Mascara Ano 2000 & Universo 2000, he couldn't handle it and got pinned. Main event on the show was Villano III beat Pierroth Jr. via DQ when the rest of Los Boriquas interfered. The interpromotional angle went down in the semifinal, as Negro Casas & Emilio Charles Jr. & Brazo de Plata faced Shocker & Zumbido & Scorpio Jr. Both warring Vipers groups (the AAA group as well as the LLL, which is the NWO type group within AAA) came down and worked together first attacking Casas's team. Shocker's team just let it happen, but eventually got tired and protected their own wrestlers and all the EMLL guys from the back ran out sending the AAA group leaving. Apparently this all drew tremendous heat with fans chanting "Consejo" (a term for Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre which the promotion is referred to on television as, since its world belts are all called CMLL belts

The 6/16 Arena Mexico show is headlined by Rayo & Atlantis & Tarzan Boy vs. Universo & Mascara Ano 2000 & Cien Caras plus the heel Alushe in the corner of Pierroth Jr. & Fuerza Guerrera & Violencia against Tinieblas Sr. with Brazo de Plata & Villano III

They did an interesting angle on the 6/4 AAA TV tapings in Sonora during a tag title match with Abismo Negro & Electro Shock defending against Hector Garza & La Parka Jr. El Alebrije, a face, who seconded Garza & Parka Jr., turned on Garza and knocked him out leading to the pin. However, at that point, another El Alebrije (the real one) came out and unmasked the imposter as Toro Irisson

May Flowers was scheduled to return from his injury for AAA on 6/11

Don Jesus Aguilera, who wrestled under the name El Marquez, passed away this past week. Originally from Juarez, he moved to Mexico City and eventually worked main events at Arena Mexico in a feud with Cobarde (the father of the current Cobarde in AAA) and also feuded with Fishman. He dropped his mask in 1975 to the late Anibal

Monterrey was having a wrestling war on 6/11 as AAA had a show headlined by Latin Lover & Heavy Metal & Haytor vs. Cibernetico & Panther & Electro Shock while the local promotion ran head-to-head with La Parka & Rayo de Jalisco Jr. & Fantasma & Felino vs. Pierroth Jr. & Gran Markus Jr. & Mascara Ano 2000 & Pimpinela Escarlata

They are doing a triangle hair vs. hair vs. mask match on 6/15 in Naucalpan with Ciclon Ramirez and Bombero Infernal putting up their hair against the mask of Dr. Cerebro

In that match we wrote about last week for 6/5 for the UWA heavyweight title, Canek retained the title over Pirata Morgan

A correction on the 6/2 Arena Mexico results from last week. Filoso & Brandon beat Alan Stone & Motocross. We had the wrong team winning.

ALL JAPAN: Akira Taue & Toshiaki Kawada, who were probably the best choice for tag team of the decade in the 90s, captured the All Japan double tag team titles for the record sixth time winning the tournament on 6/9 at Budokan Hall before a sellout 16,300 fans. Taue & Kawada first beat Johnny Ace & Mike Barton in the first round in 14:35 when Kawada pinned Ace after en enzuigiri. This was said to have been a hot match because they did the deal where Taue suffered a shoulder injury early forcing Kawada to carry the match. Yoshihiro Takayama & Takao Omori beat Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa in the other first round match when Omori pinned Ogawa after his axe bomber. The final saw Taue & Kawada win in 16:59 when Kawada used an enzuigiri and choke sleeper to score a pin on Omori. Most of the match saw Omori & Takayama again work over Taue's shoulder. Reports are the tournament and the show were considered really hot. Also on the show, Jun Akiyama & Maunukea Mossman beat Kenta Kobashi & Kentaro Shiga in 17:14 when Akiyama pinned Shiga after a piledriver. After the match, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, who had been part of Kobashi's "Burning" team, took off his Burning t-shirt and threw it into the crowd to join Akiyama's team. Shiga then also joined Akiyama's team leaving Kobashi all by himself

They also had a ceremony midway through the show to honor Jumbo Tsuruta, with his oldest son holding a photo and all his family in the ring. All Japan did a ceremony at the opening show of this tour and New Japan did a ceremony in the same building last week, which is the building where he had so many of his most memorable matches. However, because of the presence of his wife and children, this was said to have been the most moving and a lot of fans were crying

5/31 TV show did a 1.8 rating, which as bad as that sounds, when All Japan first went on Sundays, it started with lower numbers than that.

NEW JAPAN: They are saying there was a meeting to determine the rules for the 7/30 Riki Choshu vs. Atsushi Onita match in Tokyo. The storyline is that Onita was an electric dynamite match and Nagashima, representing New Japan, refused. New Japan experimented for the first time putting tickets for that show on sale via the internet, putting only 2,000 of the 17,000 seats for the Yokohama Arena on sale, and they were all gone within one hour so it was considered a big success and no doubt a lot of the Japanese companies may start doing business in that manner

At the 6/9 Osaka show, they did an angle to set up the Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi tag title defense against Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima

After the tour ended at the Osaka show, Kendo Ka Shin was asked about fighting in Pride and he's still going with the storyline that he wasn't even in Nagoya that day (when he, without his mask at Tokimitsu Ishizawa, shook hands with Renzo Gracie) and was gambling on the horses in Osaka. However, on the 6/7 house show in Imabari, after Ka Shin lost and was knocked out of contention for winning the tournament by Otani, Otani shook hands with him after and told him over the p.a. to do his best representing New Japan in Pride

The next tour will be 6/25 to 7/20. It's mainly run-of-the-mill stuff except for the first and last night. The main show is 7/20 at the Sapporo Doritsu Sports Center with Yutaka Yoshie vs. Kenzo Suzuki, Tadao Yasuda & Shiro Koshinaka & Junji Hirata & Osamu Kido vs. Michiyoshi Ohara & Tatsutoshi Goto & Hiro Saito & Masahiro Chono, Jushin Liger vs. Tatsuhito Takaiwa for the IWGP jr. title, Nagata & Nakanishi vs. Kojima & Tenzan for the IWGP tag titles and Kensuke Sasaki vs. Takashi Iizuka for the IWGP heavyweight title. That is such a weird big show world title match. Tour opener on 6/25 at Korakuen Hall has Negro Casas & Ka Shin vs. El Samurai & Shinya Makabe, Liger & Hirata vs. Goto & Saito, Suzuki vs. Kojima, Yasuda & Sasaki vs. Mike Enos & Iizuka (probably for Iizuka to get Sasaki to submit for a reason for the title match), Yoshie & Hirata & Nagata & Nakanishi vs. Super J & Tenzan & Chono & Scott Norton and an IWGP jr. title match with Takaiwa & Shinjiro Otani defending against Minoru Tanaka & Koji Kanemoto in a rematch of the phenomenal match they had last year at the Tokyo Dome. On 7/9 in Hirosaki, which is the home town of Kendo Ka Shin, they did an angle where Michinoku Pro ran a show in that city on 6/11 and Ka Shin was at the show and asked Tiger Mask & Great Sasuke to work the New Japan show on the next tour in the city. New Japan announced Tiger Mask & Sasuke vs. Ka Shin & Liger for the 7/9 date

The G-1 Climax matches in Osaka in August will be held at the Chuo Gymnasium and not the old Furitsu Gym. The Chuo Gym holds 8,000 while the Furitsu Gym, which is a more traditional arena for pro wrestling (this is actually a different building that the one that dates back to the 50s but with the same name) and holds 6,500. The Super Junior tournament final failed to sellout the Chuo Gymnasium on 6/9

6/3 TV show did a 3.8 rating.

OTHER JAPAN NOTES: Add the RINGS organization to the list of those in Japan that appear to be in trouble based on a few incidents that became public over the weekend. One incident, which was noted in the 6/12 Tokyo Sports, is that RINGS President Akira Maeda attacked Pancrase President Masami Ozaki on 5/25 at the Keio Plaza Hotel in what definitely is not an angle. Ozaki filed criminal charges against Maeda to the police in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo. This was the day before the Coliseum 2000 show in which both organizations, which don't like each other, were participating in. Although the news of this was kept out of the mainstream press for two weeks, it was known among the officials of TV Tokyo and very few insiders, which is why they had agreed that they wouldn't show Maeda on the TV show the next day because they knew the controversy was brewing. Ozaki claimed to have suffered neck, back and mouth injuries from being manhandled by the much larger former wrestling superstar. Maeda was actually in the building for the show, but when they had face shots of various celebrities such as Shinya Hashimoto and Yoshiaki Fujiwara, there was no mention of Maeda. The situation was described that Ozaki was talking with Jeremy Horn, who is a fighter with RINGS, who actually first came to Japan with Pancrase, that faced Kiyoshi Tamura on the Coliseum 2000 show the next day, over coffee at the hotel lobby. Maeda, as the report we received went, was told by his girlfriend, Motoko Uchida, that Ozaki was trying to recruit Horn to jump. Maeda was told the story, lost his temper, and either punched Ozaki or threw him down hard on a table. This gives Ozaki a legitimate reason to file a lawsuit against Maeda, who is both the President and CEO of Rings. Over this past weekend, a Japanese scandal magazine called Wata Shinso, which ran a damaging article detailing Yakuza involvement in the Dream Stage Entertainment promotion, had a quote where Maeda talked about having a friend in the Yakuza in Osaka, which was the city Maeda grew up in. In the past, there have been baseball players in Japan kicked out of the league for similar comments about potential mob involvement

Ken Shamrock will be taping an episode of TSN's "Off the Record" regarding sportsmanship in sports with Mark Tewksbury, a Canadian Olympic swimmer, and Mike Bossy, the hockey star

Satoru Sayama's Seikendo promotion ran a PPV show from the Yokohama Arena on 6/11 calling it Ultimate Boxing, which apparently was similar to MMA, using mainly unknown Russian fighters. The big pre-match deal was the debut of Afmed Zunas, billed as 7-7 and 660 pounds. However, in typical pro wrestling hype, when Zunas showed up, he was closer to 6-7 and 280 pounds. He still destroyed Japanese indie wrestler and former sumo Osamu Tachihikari (he was destroyed by Gary Goodridge at the 1/30 Pride Tokyo Dome show) in 54 seconds after punches and knees. Ebenezer Fontes Braga, who has fought Masakatsu Funaki, Akira Shoji and Kazushi Sakuraba previously in Japan, won a decision over Russian Milzamagomedov Magomed. Borishov Igori, billed as the sambo world champion, fought a Japanese judo fighter billed as Giant Ochibi. Igori was said to have star potential winning with punches from the mount in 7:05. It was noted that despite being billed as sambo world champion, when Igori got the mount, he never even attempted any submissions. Vanderlei Silva was billed as fighting on this show, and he was there, but didn't fight and was replaced at the last minute by a Japanese boxer. The boxer ended up getting KO'd with a punch at 1:44. Dick Vrij, a veteran of both the second UWF and later with RINGS, returned to Japan after a two year absence and was taken down and pounced in 1:44 by a Russian named Srutanmagomedaou Kaftas. In the main event, former K-1 star Masaaki Satake beat Dennis Podoriyatin via unanimous decision over three rounds. Reports are that this was overall considered a successful show

Kodo Fuyuki announced that they had reached an agreement with Genichiro Tenryu to wrestle the FMW show on 6/21 at Korakuen Hall and in exchange, Fuyuki would wrestle on Tenryu's 7/13 show at Korakuen Hall

Dynamite Kansai, the long-time superstar of the JWP organization, who has been surviving for years based on her past name, announced on 6/11 that she would be leaving JWP for Gaea and join the Crush 2000 group in Gaea headed by Lioness Asuka & Chigusa Nagayo

All Japan women announced the members in the tournament to decide the vacant WWWA tag titles, which Tomoko Watanabe & Kumiko Maekawa vacated for no apparent reason, since they are entering the tournament. The other teams will be Momoe Nakanishi & Nanae Takahashi, Miho Wakizawa & Kayo Noumi (current All-Japan champions), an unnamed JWP combination as well as Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda

Osaka Pro Wrestling is building to a major show at their NGK Studios home base with champion Takehiro Murahama defending against Super Delfin.

HERE AND THERE: An article in the newspaper in Sydney, Australia on 6/8 claimed that promoter Andrew McManus would be running a tour from 7/28 to 8/2 including a show on 7/31 in Sydney at a 19,000-seat arena headlined by Dennis Rodman vs. Brutus Beefcake with Joe Bugner (a British boxer who had a famous 70s world heavyweight title match with Muhammad Ali) as referee. What is believed to be the all-time wrestling record crowd in Sydney was 12,096 for an Andre the Giant vs. John Studd match. The paper claimed Rodman would be getting close to seven figures for three shows, but a lot of people are very skeptical about it. They also had an ad in the paper for the tour which didn't list Rodman's name, but did list Road Warriors, Barbarian, Paul Orndorff, Beefcake, Earthquake, Typhoon, Tatanka, Greg Valentine, One Man Gang, Maestro and Public Enemy, stated "see 16 of America's wildest, craziest, maddest and baddest stars of the WWF and WCW create havoc in the ring. Maestro was offered a spot on the tour but declined it and isn't going. McManus talked about doing a second tour later in the year with Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage

Regarding the proposed 6/25 in Philadelphia involving Atsushi Onita & Dick Togo vs. Terry Funk & John Zandig promoted by Combat Zone Wrestling, Onita has made his plans to be there for a show at the Philadelphia Electric Factory according to the Japanese press. Funk received a contract for the match on 6/10 and at this point is also planning on doing the show

There has been very little publicity in Canada regarding the "Beyond the Mat" limited screenings in that country starting on 6/16, limited to one theater in Toronto and Vancouver each for a two week run

The 6/23 team of wrestlers that will compete in the FX Toughman contest against football players will be a team captained by Ken Shamrock featuring Southern California indie wrestlers Mike Bell, Mike Saalhaub, Mark Bell, Andy Judge, Justin McCully (who has also fought in RINGS and other shootfighting organizations), Mike Hettinga, Bazil Bozinis, Tim Fisher (XPW's Damien Steele), Aaron Aguilera, Stefan Gamlin (a former football player who was once under a WWF developmental deal), Matthew Frembing, Tom Howard (who also once had a WWF developmental deal) and Jamaal Mustafa (formerly of the Gangstas). The show was taped on 6/2. The only thing we know is that the wrestlers beat the hell out of the football players

The Fox Family Channel is casting a TV show called "Los Luchadores" for the fall season about a troupe of masked Mexican wrestlers. Tom Howard (that name appears twice in consecutive items) plays the lead role under a mask

Krause Publications has put out a 160-page full color mainly picture book called "Professional Wrestling Collectibles" written by Kris Pope and Ray Whebbe Jr. The book attempts to paint a value on all sorts of pro wrestling memorabilia from programs, ring wear of stars, videotapes, dolls and magazines, posters, comic books, has lots of color photos including that of the wrestling museum in Newton, IA, listings of wrestlers in movies including El Santo, wrestling albums and CDs, etc. The book lists for $21.95 and is available at 800-258-0929

Memphis Championship Wrestling has moved its TV tapings out of Sam's Town Casino in Robinsonville, MS back to Memphis at the New Daisy Theater. There is talk of moving them again to the Pitkin Building on the Fairgrounds, which at one point when the old USWA was at odds with the Mid South Coliseum, was the weekly home of Monday night wrestling in Memphis. Sam's Town, which banned kids under 21 from appearing, had been like a tomb with virtually no fans, resulting in darkening the building to make the empty seats less visible and it looking bad as far as TV production. The only show that had drawn well of late was an afternoon weekend show that allowed kids where they got the crowd up to maybe 230. Several of the Shawn Michaels students should be starting in Memphis over the next few weeks. Both Jim Neidhart and Curtis Hughes appear to be getting phased out

AWA on 6/21 in Greely, CO is headlined by Sgt. Slaughter vs. General Adnan. Adnan has got to be in his mid-to-late 60s by now

The Dynamite Kid autobiography is expected to be released shortly in Japanese

Jeff Peterson, 18, an independent wrestler on the East Coast and nephew of ECWA promoter Jim Kettner, is back home after spending time at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa after battling cancer. The IPWA Hardcore promotion in St. Petersburg ran a benefit show for him on 6/10

Dragon King Update Report listed all of pro wrestling's recognized world champions (various incarnations pre-NWA 1948, NWA, AWA, WWF, ECW, Triple Crown and IWGP are considered as world champions and one can argue the merits and demerits of them being listed and others not) and the ten longest reigning champions, based on number of days as champions, in the history of pro wrestling are Lou Thesz, Verne Gagne (well, he did own the company), Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Strangler Lewis, Nick Bockwinkel, George Hackenschmidt, Bob Backlund and Joe Stecher

The Muscle & Fitness magazine on the newsstands has a Rena Mero cover. She downsized in her latest boob job and either she's had so much surgery or the cover is so airbrushed that she only slightly resembles the former Sable to the degree that at first glance at the cover she probably wouldn't even be recognizable to most wrestling fans without a closer study. Mero was called "the most popular female athlete in wrestling history" in the story on her. I guess one could make a case for it, but I also wonder how many people cried when she retired as did when No. 2 through 5 finished their respective careers. The story also said that she can bench press 225 and squat 405. I haven't laughed so hard in weeks since after reading that one. Do you realize if she could actually do that at 118 pounds, she'd be a world class womens powerlifter

There was a business trade publication that ran a story this past week about a proposed "Urban Wrestling Federation" with the idea of combining Spanish, hip-hop and wrestling and attempting to sell the package to TV stations. The idea appears to be at least one season away from getting off the ground. The idea is combining hip hop musical acts with wrestling matches on the same show, introducing artists and selling CD's along with videos and PPVs. Anyway, here's the catch. They are building around characters like Koko Ware and the Cuban Assassin

Long-time wrestling fan Chuck Shepherd, who does the syndicated "News of the Weird" column in newspapers around the country, got the Christian Wrestling Federation in Mesquite, TX into newspapers around the country. Shepherd noted that the show is based on mainstream wrestling, but without profanity and sexual content, that the wrestlers work the matches for free, and after the main event, they all return to the ring for a joint prayer

Abdullah the Butcher, Kendall Windham and the Pitbulls have all worked of late with the WWC in Puerto Rico. Pitbulls are already gone. Big Dick Dudley is in as the top heel. Invader #3 (Johnny Rivera) has also returned and One Man Gang is also heading in for the Anniversary tour in July which are traditionally the biggest shows of the year. The shows are 7/14 in Manati, 7/15 in Ponce and 7/16 in Caguas. WWC has no tag belts. Victor the Bodyguard, who left the promotion for IWA, said on a radio talk show that he had one of the belts and would return it when the WWC pays him the $1,000 that they owe him

Steve Bradley went home for one week so for the IWA over the weekend they used Head Hunter as a replacement partner in IWA tag title matches teaming with Andy Anderson

Ratings in Puerto Rico saw on 5/27, WWC did a 9.3 and IWA did a 6.6. On 5/28, WWC did a 10.4 and IWA did a 4.5. In 6/3, WWC did a 9.3 and IWA did a 6.4. On 6/4, WWC did a 9.2 and IWA did a 5.1

The IPW in St. Petersburg, FL raised more than $3,000 on 6/10 on a benefit show put on by Ron Niemi to help pay medical costs for 18-year-old Jeff Peterson, an indie wrestler battling cancer

The Electronic pop group BIS released their "Music for a Stranger World" CD on 6/12 in the U.K. with a track called "Dead Wrestlers.

George Kopecky, a Milwaukee wrestler from the 50s, passed away on 5/31 at the age of 75. He wrestled under such names as the Terrible Turk, Count Cronozi and as a Gorgeous George.

MMA: DSE is attempting to get the Frank Shamrock vs. Kazushi Sakuraba match for the 8/27 Seibu Dome card. Right now DSE and Shamrock haven't come to financial terms and the odds appear to be against this match happening at least on that show

Saw the Jeremy Horn vs. Kiyoshi Tamura match from the 5/26 Coliseum 2000 show at the Tokyo Dome. Most of the reports were it was a close fight or that Tamura got a home town decision. Tamura won the first round slightly, and Horn won the second round maybe by a little more but under any normal scoring it would have been a draw. If Tamura got the edge, they may have given it to him by being so much lighter, although Coliseum never announced any judging criteria, let alone criteria where weight would matter in a close decision. It was also interesting that Tamura went into the ring without gloves, and thus gave up his right to punch (he was allowed slaps)

The current plan now is for K-1 to return to the United States on 8/5 at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas with an eight man tournament headlined by Jean Claude Leuyer. K-1 will be running a live two hour prime time show on 7/7 on NTV in a show from Sendai which will be headlined by singles fights with Andy Hug and Peter Aerts

Johil de Oliveira is expected to be hospitalized in Japan for at least another three weeks due to getting second degree burns on 40% of his body in a pyro mishap just before the start of his scheduled match on the 6/4 Dream Stage Entertainment show

Dan Severn on Wrestling Observer Live talked about his match with Marcus Conan Silveira where he won the WEF title which was a series of funny stories since the promotion gave him such a little chance to win as they had a pool over how quick Silveira would beat him and with what maneuver, and had already planned out an angle to lead to Silveira vs. Bobby Hoffman. Maybe to insure things, in the dressing room before the match, Severn was asked about allowing Silveira to use his own gloves, which had a metal bar in the palm, and had the upper knuckles exposed. After Severn turned it down, the promotion started offering bonuses starting at $2,500 for him to accept the gloves, which he didn't

The 5/20 RINGS show in Russia without a city being listed was in Ekateringburg

Pancrase on 6/26 at Korakuen Hall is starting a series of tournaments which will continue on 7/23 at Korakuen Hall with the finals on 9/24 at Yokohama Bunka Gym. There will be both middleweight and light heavyweight tournaments. The light heavyweight tournament will be 16 men, with them fighting two rounds, leaving two guys advancing from both the 6/26 and 7/23 tournaments. The middleweight tournament will be eight men, with four men fighting on 6/26 and 7/23 and the winners of the matches going to the 9/24 finals. The 6/26 show was announced and the light heavyweight tournament first round matches are Kosei Kubota vs. Daisuke Igarashi, Kei Yamamiya vs. Naohisa Kawamura, Jason DeLucia vs. Omar Bouiche and Daisuke Ishii vs. Chris Lytle. The winners of those matches will go on to a second round on that show, and the 7/23 show will have eight different fighters also do two rounds of eliminations. For the middleweight tournament, it'll be Daijyu Takase vs. Nathan Marquardt and Kiuma Kunioku vs. Matt Lee. The two winners advance to 9/24, as will the two winners of two more middleweight tourney matches to be announced for 7/23

Daisuke Ishida, 22, who fights under the name Daisuke Ishii in Pancrase, signed a contract with Ota Productions and will be promoted as a Japanese TV and action movie star under the name Daisuke. He is expected to continue fighting with Pancrase as well.

ECW: The Heat Wave PPV will take place on 7/16 at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, which will be the first West Coast appearance of the promotion. The appearance in Los Angeles may also have significance as it pertains to XPW being based in Los Angeles

After the end of the match in Pensacola where the Sandman was out there in no condition to be out there and the match was ruined, there was a lot of backstage yelling and even blows thrown involving Sandman, Dreamer and Victory. The Dreamer-Sandman altercation which occurred after the match was quickly broken up before any harm was done. Victory and Sandman then started an argument in the bathroom which led to a fight where Sandman poked Victory in the eyes and Victory gave Sandman a few quick head-butts before it was broken up. Sandman came out of the bathroom bleeding from his forehead and above the eye and Victory has some minor swelling

The TV tapings this week took place on 6/10 in Pittsburgh before 2,700 fans, of which 2,300 were paid. Backstage the morale wasn't good because of the paychecks being one to three weeks late. There wasn't much new, as they did a similar angle with Cyrus, Joey Styles and Joel Gertner that they've been doing, including Rhino spearing Gertner, Tommy Dreamer saving Styles and Van Dam cleaning house with a big dive at the end. There were several newcomers, most impressive of which was Carl Pierre Oullett, back using his Jean Pierre Lafitte WWF name, who had a really good squash win over H.C. Loc. Another newcomer was E.Z. Money who juiced real big in one of the New Jack run-ins. The show was said to have two really good matches, another Credible win over Lynn which ended when Rhino put Lynn through a table to set up the pin, and Van Dam over Guido, which was compared with the level of the early Van Dam-Lynn house show matches from a few years back. The crowd was hot but there wasn't money spent on production so the building may not look good

6/9 TNN show was taped in New Orleans. It had a total indie look with all the empty seats visible even around the ringside area. At the beginning, they tried to build the show heavily around Dawn Marie, which is always a sign of desperation when you use T&A as the main focus of the show instead of garnish to complement the big programs. Jazz came out for an interview to start the show saying her T&A stands for talent and ability. Credible caned her and pounded on her. This footage was totally digitized. Francine then jumped her wearing this tiny skirt that flew up, which wasn't digitized. I guess women can beat up women. And men can beat up some women as we've also seen on this show. I'm not sure if white men can't beat up black women, or men simply can't beat up short women. Cyrus & Anton did a promo. I don't know why, but whenever Cyrus talks about demographics, it's cracks me up. Heyman then put over the web site where his uncensored comments that didn't air on the previous week's show were up. They were better off censored after reading them. They started pushing the return of Dawn Marie at the TV tapings on 6/23. Cyrus then tried to recruit Raven, since he, once, was a ratings draw. It was about a half hour into a one hour show before we finally had a match (granted, WWF did that on Monday, but at least they had a two hour show). Anton beat Raven clean with a sharpshooter, which they called the clapper in 5:32. They did a long Credible & Francine video. Finally the main event saw Dreamer & Sandman over Rhino & Credible in 6:23. This looked like a WCW match. Corino, Tajiri and Anton all ran in right in front of the ref, but he didn't seem to even make an effort to care. Van Dam finally made the save like a really athletic version of Nash. Well, actually not, because Van Dam sold at the end. Van Dam gave Rhino the five-star frog splash and Sandman got the pin. Then Van Dam got beaten down and Anton put him in the clapper while Credible pounded on Sandman with cane shots and the show ended with the Network leaving the babyfaces laying

Raven's lower leg swelled up after having it wrapped around the post last weekend. He worked on it on 6/9 in Erie, PA but was limping badly and couldn't put any weight on it so missed the TV tapings the next night.

WCW: Nitro on 6/12 in Richmond, VA drew 4,723, which was 2,716 paying $64,905. Scott Hudson did the entire broadcast with his shirt off. Russo over the weekend, after hearing the remarks made last week on Nitro about his physique by the announcers, wanted all three announcers to do the entire broadcast without shirts, as ordered by Russo, because he thought it would get him over as a heel. Madden, smartly, didn't want to, because quite frankly all three shirtless would have totally ruined the broadcast. Hudson looked average enough that while it was silly, it wasn't like it was anything that is going to haunt his credibility or make him seem like a fool later. Russo & Bischoff came out. Bischoff did a great interview. Goldberg came out to a tepid reaction but the fans got on him as he told his story about signing a deal with the devil because of all the guys backstabbing him while he was gone looking for his spot. Nash came out and tried to claim it wasn't Goldberg who made Goldberg, but guys like he, Hall and Hogan. Somehow as I remember it, it was he, Hall and Hogan as the guys who took Goldberg down from when he was the hottest act in the business and made him just another main eventer. Security attacked Nash and handcuffed him. Russo said that Goldberg vs. Nash would draw ratings so told the cops to hold Nash until the match later in the show. Vito beat Terry Funk in 6:03 after a piledriver off the apron through a table in the hardcore title match. At one point Funk fell off the stage through a table. This was a match attempting to position Vito (who goes back to the early 90s on the New York indie scene with Russo) as a star and it was probably the best match on the show. Funk threw him the belt and they shook hands. Of course Vito hit Funk with the belt afterwards. Vampiro talked with a mystery man. The mystery man will turn out to be Christopher Daniels. At this point he doesn't have a name. They wanted to name him "The Lord," or God, but standards and practices nixed that. They also nixed the angle where they wanted Vampiro to set the dressing room on fire and Asya would be in there and get burned. The angle would reveal Dale Torborg as Asya's fiance, looking for revenge, and expose Torborg as The Demon to set up their feud. Poor guy goes from feuding with Sting to feuding with Demon. Sting (another vacation, and what a great job he has), Page (trying to rest up and let his back injury recover) and Flair (rotator cuff surgery) are all on the shelf, so it appears with Luger also gone (no change in his situation from last week) there the Millionaires Club is basically kaput, so that's why they are turning lots of NB guys like Kidman and Bagwell because they are short on faces after the Goldberg turn. They hired a child actor to play Nash's nephew "Hunter." I wonder where they got that name? With Nash locked up, he told Scott Steiner to watch him. If I had an eight year old, somehow I don't think I'd have Scott Steiner watching him. Just as I suspected as the show went on, Scott blew off babysitting to pump up, and left the kid to be watched by one of the women. The funniest thing all week was listening to Steven Regal talk about having watched this segment of the show and leaving an eight-year-old with a half naked slut (he didn't exactly use that word, but a British slang term meaning that) as a babysitter. Kronik beat Bagwell & Douglas in 3:16. Bagwell worked the match like a face. Bagwell used the blockbuster and had the match won, but Douglas slapped him to tag in, and Douglas got double choke slammed and pinned by Clark. Bagwell & Douglas argued after the match, then made up. Bagwell then turned his back and Douglas jumped him. Didn't we just see that in the last match? Douglas blamed Bagwell for all his problems saying since Bagwell got suspended, he'd been screwed over for 30 days. Oh, God, Paisley & Artist were back with a press conference announcing his name is now only The Artist instead of TAF KAPI. The old man, who was formerly Hugh Morrus' insane father, but is now Captain Rection's horny grandfather, was under the desk and apparently looking up Paisley's dress during the press conference with a pie. Lt. Loco beat Artist in 2:24 with a tornado DDT. The old man tried to attack Paisley after. As Hogan came in, Jarrett KO'd him with a guitar. They panned over and showed Horace Hogan asleep on the floor. Russo & David Flair came out. For some reason, even though Flair was a 14-time champ, and held it twice in this Russo reign, he's only a 15-time champ. They set up Flair putting his career on the line against Russo's hair and his job as booker in a match, and Russo made it a ag match with Reid. Hogan and Jarrett had a non-finish in 6:18. Kidman was ref and turned babyface. Hogan juiced again. Kidman stopped Jarrett from using a chair and then threw the chair to Hogan, who used it. Goldberg and Russo came out. Hogan legdropped Jarrett and Goldberg saved. Actually Goldberg never even touched Hogan but it broke up the pin anyway. Goldberg speared Kidman, nearly tripping before doing so and threw Kidman over the top rope and then speared Hogan, and jackhammered Hogan through a table. G.I. Bro did a run-in but Goldberg left the ring. Through it all, Hogan avoided doing the job and went out on a stretcher. DDP did an interview. He was fine after the bump, but then did the Bret Hart in Toronto deal and quit because the business cost him his wife and his best friends. Good interview. Vampiro vs. Demon went nowhere. Demon is now blowing fire. Vampiro did a crossbody off the lower end of the Nitrovision screen onto the ramp and the bell just rang at 2:08. Kimberly & Kanyon came out. Kanyon's gimmick will be to come out to Page's music with Page's wife and use the diamond cutter as the finisher. It would be a great idea if it wasn't for the fact they just did that angle with Abbott and Goldberg. Coming out with the taped ribs was a nice touch. Kanyon challenged anyone to come out. Scott Steiner did. Kanyon got to do his diamond cutter on Charles Robinson before being put in the recliner. Awesome made the save and they doubled on Scott until Kronik made the save and cleaned house on Kanyon & Awesome. Nash's nephew disappeared. What a shock. Russo & David beat Ric & Reid in 4:03. The angle with Russo shaving Ric's head was tremendous just that Ric agreed to do it for the first time in nearly 30 years and if anything they've done should draw money, this is it. Of course I also thought that about Goldberg's return, and nothing should have been bigger than Flair and Hogan's retirement teases, so they don't exactly have the midas touch when it comes to things that on paper should work. The execution of the match left much to be desired. David tried the Flair flip bump into the corner and couldn't get it. Flair chopped Russo, who no sold it. It was revealed he was wearing a catchers' chest protector. Flair pulled it off and chopped. Russo hit Ric with the bat. Beth ran in. It was a mess at this point with nobody seeming to know what to do. Russo was supposed to break the statue of liberty over Ric's head, but the statue broke early. Ric was selling. Ashley tried a run-in. David put the figure four on Ric and Megan threw in the towel. Russo then shaved some of Ric's head. Ric shaved the rest of it backstage. Russo also shaved some of Reid's head. Although it puts great heat on Russo, it still leads to Ric vs. Russo which isn't a program you can run for any length of time. It would have been better for Russo to be involved, but somebody else (preferably not David although the idea of helping David's career, which is such a terribly premature push, may have been a reason Ric allowed his head to be shaved) who could work a program with Flair which could go on for a few months and, preferably more than one person so Flair has more than one program, have done the shaving before getting to Russo at the end of the quest. It's just maximizing the time frame of the angle. Goldberg and Nash had a non-finish in 5:04. There was a woman in the crowd who had "Nash" tattooed on her belly. For some reason I wondered what would possess someone to do that, and it had nothing to do with it being Nash. Goldberg got virtually no reaction to his entrance but did get heat as the match went on. Nash bladed after a weak chair shot. The eight-year-old hit the ring. Nash should have given the two negligent babysitters the jackknife by this point. Russo then grabbed Hunter and attempted to abduct him. Steiner started cleaning house on security people. Palumbo beat up Scott with a night stick and as Scott was held, Cat kicked him. The show ended at this point with Goldberg laying out Nash. Nash got his licks in on the Filthy Animals somewhere in there

In an AP article on 6/7, Goldberg said he's bothered by how much wrestling plays up the sexual aspects. "We are farther away form the kids and closer to pornography. It bothers me. Absolutely. We have a show that has a girl in a bikini in every single segment. I'm not in favor of that. I voice my opinion on everything I have a problem with. We can't shut our eyes on the kids who watch. There is a time and a place for segments where kids can watch with their parents, and we don't have it.

Tapings on 6/13 in Norfolk. For World Wide, Arist beat Cajun. There was a tag match with Sean O'Hare and someone beating Alan Funk and someone and finally Three Count beat Jung Dragons. Thunder opened with Russo saying Ric Flair would be there and then pulled out Mr. Potato Head and said it was Flair. Nash came out and fought with security, David Flair and Cat. Nash laid out Cat with a bat while Russo and Jarrett ran off. Vito told Johnny that because he loves him so much, he's going to give him the hardcore belt. Of course, Vito then hit him with a kendo stick and put him through a table. Nash then laid out Vito. Kronik vs. Bigelow & Candido was weird. Candido, without Tammy, was taking forever to unscrew the turnbuckle before the match was called off by Doug Dillenger. Abbott and Rick Steiner laid out Palumbo and Stasiak backstage. Awesome & Kanyon challenge any team in the back. Rick Steiner & Abbott come out. Awesome was about to put Abbott through the table but Rick saved him. Stasiak & Palumbo ran out until Scott made the save and Scott and Rick made up. Jarrett beat Kidman when Konnan hit Kidman with the guitar and Jarrett used the stroke. Animals & Jarrett continued pounding on Kidman until Nash made the save and choked Jarrett with a belt and took him hostage. Steiner beat Cat with the recliner. Cat, saying he's the commissioner, then banned the recliner, claiming it was an illegal choke hold and claimed he was the winner. Douglas talked about franchising Bagwell's ass. Bagwell ran in but Bigelow & Candido beat him down. I guess we've got a Triple Threat reunion. Daffney and Miss Hancock started fighting with David pulling them apart. Vampiro vs. Demon saw Asya spit blood into Vampiro's face but Vampiro came back and did the nail in the coffin on Asya and Demon locked Vampiro in the coffin. David Flair vs. Crowbar was a hair vs. hair match with David winning with the loaded statue of liberty. David shaved off a little of Crowbar's hair. Daffney left with Crowbar. Nash did some lies from the movie "Deliverance." Russo came out and started talking about Hall being protected by Nash and Bischoff. Goldberg nailed Nash. Steiner cleaned house and they had a pull-apart. They then retaped Kronik vs. Candido & Bigelow and this time Candido got pinned clean, which was probably the planned finish but they stopped them because Candido was taking too much time getting the turnbuckle pad off

Brad Siegel called both Bischoff and Russo in for a meeting on 6/7 to explain the Monday rating that everyone had predicted would be a lot higher than it turned out to be

The 6/6 Thunder tapings in Knoxville actually saw World Wide as better than Thunder. Christopher Daniels debuted, putting over Chris Candido. Daniels was said to have looked good, but not great. They also had a Vampiro over Crowbar match. Thunder started with Bischoff coming out with a group of lawyers, apparently there to enforce Goldberg's suspension. One of the lawyers looked like the guy who played, and how's this for a dated reference, Sam Drucker from Green Acres, except he looked just like him. Bischoff suspended Goldberg for 90 days. I'm sure everyone believed that. Jarrett then came out with injuries on just about every body part with Nash's old nurses. Nash had a bat and attacked him anyway, and as it turned out, Jarrett wasn't really injured. The old broken arm trick with a new twist, I guess. Lt. Loco (Chavo Jr.) won the cruiserweight title in a three-way over Daffney and Disco in 2:53. Tons of outside interference. Crowbar did a dive onto everyone. Hancock showed up and argued with Daffney I guess because of David Flair. Kimberly shoved Hancock into Daffney. As you can imagine, the physical interplay with the women looked awful. Too bad Russo never studied the attendance figures when GLOW went on tour. G.I. Bro, and boy does that name suck, gave Disco a uranage and then put Loco on top for the pin. Tigress, who is now Rey Jr's girlfriend on the show, did commentary, and she was awful. Kidman beat Private Stash, who I guess got his ranking dropped from a Major because of a serious of so many bad matches in a row, when Horace used a death valley driver on Stash and Kidman pinned him in 2:06 with an elbow off the top. Kidman called out Torrie Wilson to apologize after but she instead slapped him. Cat was out there trying to teach a group of senior citizens to dance. Now that was funny. Russo came out with David Flair for Ric's retirement party. They brought out a cake. Then a giant cake was brought out. Russo wasn't going to be so stupid to fall for the Ric Flair in a cake deal, so instead Flair came from under the ring and started beating on him. The senior citizens were out there and now that the skit is over, I've got no idea why. Ric gave David a low blow and put Russo's face in the cake. The Mamalukes, who are now the hardcore champion (I know Mamalukes is plural and champion in singular, but this is WCW) because Bischoff gave them the belts (I guess so he doesn't have to do a job) beat Wall in 5:17. Who sat there and came up with the idea this should be the second longest match on the show (or that Stasiak & Palumbo should be in the longest one)? Terrible. Wall now looks completely different, but he unfortunately he wrestles exactly the same. Douglas interfered power bombing Wall through the table and Vito pinned him. Vito actually wore the belt during the entire match, most of which was backstage. Abbott came out and decked both Mamalukes and challenged Nash. They had a lengthy movie preview and when they came back, Nash wasn't there. Finally Abbott was looking around for somebody to pound and they showed a 12-year-old kid in the audience, and alerted us it was John-Michael Schiavone, Tony's son. Tony hopped the rail and the kid threw a drink in Abbott's face. Nash came out to save Schaivone's life and they went all of 13 seconds before Rick interfered for the DQ and Scott made the save. So much for not doing DQ finishes for run-ins. Awesome vs. Laroux had a dead crowd until DDP ran in. Awesome hit Page with the halo and power bombed him through a table and it was over. Palumbo & Stasiak retained the tag titles beating Captain Rection & Bro in 6:42. The old guy who used to play Hugh Morrus' father from the nut house is back, and will be a pushed character on TV. He kept trying to hit on Tylene Buck at ringside. How long before Tylene has to give him mouth-to-mouth. I wonder if he's going to get power bombed through a table? Palumbo pinned Rection when Pops Rection distracted him. Kronik attacked Stasiak & Palumbo after. Sting vs. Miller never took place because Vampiro sprayed Sting with a fire extinguisher and laid Sting out doing the Stinger splash and scorpion death drop. Vampiro set the table on fire but Sting put it out. Vampiro then gave Sting a uranage on the table, but the table didn't break, and that looked like it hurt. Hogan came out as Hollywood Hogan to his old music and ring garb and cut the same old promo. Finally it was Steiner's turn run the gauntlet and establish all the mid-cards as being completely not competitive with the top guys. The beneficiaries of "the rub" this show were Candido, Stasiak and Palumbo, who lasted a combined 1:26 until a whole group of heels beat Steiner down. Nash, who would have lost his title shot had he interfered, went to run-in but as soon as he left his dressing room, Jarrett hit him with a guitar. Now make sense out of that. Jarrett was doing the broken arm trick with his whole body to get out of the match, but now Nash was going to do something to cancel the match and Jarrett stops him. They put Steiner in a straight jacket and body bag until Goldberg came in. They beat on Goldberg six-on-one until he made his own save and nearly killed Douglas doing a powerslam. Bischoff came out with the police when the show ended

The planned finish for the Flair-Russo cage match was to include Reid Fliehr doing a run-in and getting beaten up by David, which explains why he was there. That also explains why Russo was in the figure four forever before the bucket of red liquid dropped, as the guy dropping the stuff was waiting for his cue that was never coming

Sports Illustrated in the 6/12 issue had a column by Rick Reilly on Bill Goldberg. It was pretty disappointing. It took the stereotypical angle about the Jewish son of an ob/gyn and violinist that becomes a pro wrestler. You know, because all pro wrestlers' parents should be blue collar workers I guess and they shouldn't be Jewish. Reilly didn't even investigate his stereotype long enough to realize that Ric Flair's father was also an ob/gyn, or that there have been numerous pro wrestling stars of both the past and present that have been Jewish, including Raven and Dean Malenko of current wrestlers

Sports Illustrated for Kids in its pro wrestling article, had a tale of the tape comparing Bruno Sammartino with Scott Steiner. It claimed Sammartino had 22 1/2 inch arms, which is a total joke. Bruno was a huge powerful guy by the standards of the pre-steroid era, but there is no way his arms were anywhere close to that. They claimed Steiner had 26 inch arms, which is an even bigger joke. You should get a tape measure and turn it into a circle and see how large 26 inches is and how laughable that is even though Steiner's arms are freaky. The article also listed Steiner's varsity record at University of Michigan as a wrestler at 125-51-2, which is a good collegiate record, but pretty well exposes his real wrestling ability at nowhere close to national class level

Regarding the Funk vs. Candido match in the horse stall, they gave the horse a horse tranquilizer (I believe PCP) and had his harnessed. However, in all the commotion, the horse panicked and threw the kick at Funk. If he hadn't been harnessed, or for that matter, if the kick had hit Funk in the head instead of the upper arm, it could have been disastrous

Believe it or not, over the past two weeks there has been a lot of interest in bringing Dennis Rodman back hoping for mainstream publicity. Perhaps it stems from Karl Malone expressing interest in doing something again when they were in Salt Lake City and Malone getting the big pop for his run-in

Konnan finally had the MRI on his tricep on 6/7

Bill DeMott (Capt. Rection) didn't know they were bring the old guy back as his nutty father until the afternoon when he got to the building. His reaction was the same as just about everyone's who saw the angle. This is planned to be an angle that will be strongly pushed on television

Elix Skipper was involved in a pretty serious car accident and will be out of action for a few weeks

Lance Storm's debut had to be pushed back because WCW opted to get him a new visa and everything wasn't finalized before TV this week

Thunder on 6/6 drew 3,088 which was 1,906 paying $40,940.

WWF: Stuart Snyder was named President and Chief Operating Officer of WWFE on 6/7. Technically, Vince McMahon is the Chairman of the Board and Linda McMahon, who was President and COO, is now Chief Executive Officer. Snyder, who has recent experience heading a division at the USA Network as well as running the Ringling Brothers road tours, is being brought in to lighten the load on Linda McMahon as it regards running the day-to-day marketing and public relations as well as the business end. Linda McMahon will be spending more time working as the company liaison to the Wall Street world and working as it pertains to stockholder relations. Snyder's role will be running the day-to-day business decisions and report directly to Vince and Linda

Judgment Day on 5/21 drew an estimated 400,000 buys, which would be roughly a 1.05 buy rate. If the number holds up, it would be the lowest figure so far this year, although realistically that should have been expected as it didn't have the something special in the main event that the traditional Royal Rumble, the retirement and Hell in a Cell with Mick Foley, Wrestlemania, or the return of Austin all would have had

At the Buffalo Smackdown tapings, there was a very large section of fans chanting "You screwed Bret" when Earl Hebner came out. He immediately broke character and flipped them off

For Raw on 6/12 in St. Louis at the Kiel Center, they drew a sellout of 14,647 paying $436,216. The show opened with a Rock interview. He was funnier than usual, particularly the line about telling Kane to bring his seven foot body and HHH to bring his three foot nose out. Kane and Undertaker came out. Linda then came out. It's amazing. Linda can't cut a promo and the crowd still went crazy for her. She set up the six-man tag (Vince & Shane & HHH vs. Undertaker & Kane & Rock) for the King of the Ring main event. She explained how Vince was using divide and conquer as a strategy to break them up (I wonder who it was that first used that term?). Vince and the faction came out. Vince called her a shrew of a wife. Vince was hilarious in selling Linda's words that come out with no conviction. Vince accepted a title match against a mystery opponent for HHH, to help set up HHH's turn when the day comes. Vince even brought up Linda being in Wilmington, DE (where the USA Network lawsuit is being heard) earlier in the day. X-Pac beat Malenko in a KOR qualifier with an X-factor in 1:58 when Tori distracted Malenko and Dogg punched her. Stephanie beat Lita in a womens title match in 1:14 when Angle interfered and gave Lita the Olympic slam. At first HHH was happy that Stephanie won, but he started getting mad when Stephanie and Angle kept hugging each other. The entire faction went to the dressing room and beat up Kane including a bat shot right to the face. They unmasked him and Patterson took his photo. You knew with Patterson involved, there was going to be a screw up by the end of the show. They showed a replay from Smackdown of the Rikishi-Venis angle and now Rikishi splashed him from 15 feet. I guess that means Rikishi himself must be about 19 feet tall. Too Cool kept the tag titles beating T&A via DQ in 2:30 when Venis interfered. Test hit Scotty with a title belt shot for a good near fall. Only problem is that they used that exact same spot for the finish of a match later in the show. Venis hit Grandmaster with the title belt laying both out, while Albert did the neck hanging tree slam on Scotty and Test did the melt down on Grandmaster. Rikishi made the save, but Albert saved Stratus from her second stinky face. The McMahons (Vince & Shane) beat Dudleys in 5:38 in a double tables match. This match was a mess, but of course with the McMahons, had great heat, and was actually scary in a few spots. They kept the cameras on Shane and away from Vince as the action was progressing which was very smart. They hit a 3-D on Shane. DX interfered. Vince was set up for a power bomb off the ropes by Buh Buh through a table. The spot was broken up, but Buh Buh and Vince lost their balance and tumbled over the top rope to the floor. That was a scary bump for a 54-year-old man to take, but he survived it. DX then put D-Von through a table. Tori was then supposed to splash Buh Buh through the table for the second table and the win, but her splash was a little off and the table didn't break. Everyone improvised at this point and if it wasn't for the fact the crowd was so into it, it would have been evident what a mess it was. The ref called for the bell, the only logical reason would be a DQ for outside interference. They started screaming signals in the ring, put Buh Buh back on the table and had Tori do it again. When she did, the ref raised Vince & Shane's hands. I swear I thought I was watching Nitro at this point. Patterson, Brisco and HHH told Buchanan that Undertaker wouldn't work with him because he thought he wasn't on his level. They talked him into driving off with Undertaker's bike. Undertaker showed up and stole a car and started chasing him. While they were back there, Crash Holly attacked Patterson and Brisco before Brisco ran off. They ended up in the ring, and Crash pinned Brisco in 2:27 to win the hardcore title. Crash threw all these weapons from under the ring into the ring, which allowed Brisco to use them on him. That sure made him look stupid. Patterson came out and interfered. I know it sounds bad, but this was a really good match. Patterson hit Brisco with a garbage can and Crash pinned him. Brisco did a hell of a job given his age and his role and Crash is very good. Patterson and Brisco teased a break-up but made up by the end of the segment. HHH beat Jericho, as the mystery opponent, in maybe the best Raw match so far this year. In playing the role of heel world champion, this should be a tape that heels being groomed for main events watch on how to get yourself over, get your opponent over, still protect the title as something important and entertain the fans by taking them for a ride. All sorts of great near falls. Stephanie gave HHH the belt, but Jericho hit him with a spin kick and a lionsault before a ref bump. Jericho got the walls on and HHH was tapping but no ref. Stephanie ran in, but Jericho put her in the walls. Finally HHH hit Jericho with the belt and hit him with a pedigree for the pin in 7:56. It didn't matter what else was on this show, any time you have a match this good on TV it's a strong show. Benoit beat Matt Hardy in 6:05 with the crossface in a really good match. The crowd wasn't as up for this match because of how good the previous bout was, but it was a great match. They are doing the deal where Benoit as a heel keeps winning clean to get him over as the fightingest (or as Michael Cole called him, the fightiest) IC champ ever to set up the eventual turn. To get him over as having an attitude, when Jeff came in, Benoit hit him again with the title belt. Jeff then had to sell as Christian wrestled him in a KOR qualifier. Short but good, with the old Dynamite Kid-Randy Savage superplex off the top but the guy taking the move gets a quick cradle so Jeff won in 1:57. Vince and the Faction came out for the Rock vs. Kane main event. Kane had to wrestle or they promised to show a photo of his face to the entire world. Match had great heat. GTV appeared on the screen where it was revealed that Patterson and Brisco had screwed up and the photo came out blank. Rock and Kane realized it and attacked the faction. Undertaker showed up on his mic. The match had already ended at 4:00. The finish, or lack thereof, was totally silly. Dudleys, who are clearly attempting to be elevated to the top level, came out with tables. Rock used the rock bottom on Vince. HHH was caught as the ping pong bell between the faces before Kane and Undertaker double choke slammed him through a table to end the show

Tapings on 6/13 in Chicago before a sellout at the All State Arena. Heat started with HHH vs. Bob Holly. HHH was about to use the title belt when Jericho interfered and hit HHH with it for a no contest finish. Venis pinned Jeff Hardy in a KOR match with a fisherman suplex. During the match, Stratus hit Lita with her boot. Buchanan beat Saturn with an ax kick in a KOR match. Snow & Blackman beat Michinoku & Funaki. Snow ran backstage to get head during the match. Blackman pinned Michinoku. Guerrero pinned Malenko. Malenko came out with two women. Guerrero appeared to land wrong doing his flying huracanrana finish. For Heat, Edge beat Grandmaster in a KOR match. Christian and Scotty were fighting when Shane hit Grandmaster with a chair while the ref was distracted. T&A beat Hardys when Trish interfered and they did a double-boot to Jeff's face for the pin. After the match, Lita laid out Stratus with a legdrop off the top rope. Scotty pinned D-Lo in a KOR qualifier cleanly. Kane beat Benoit via DQ in an IC title match after hitting him with the title belt. Edge & Christian double count out Dudleys. They were about to power bomb Christian through a table when Dogg & X-Pac came out and put both Dudleys in a dumpster (remember Mick Foley and Terry Funk), and shoved the dumpster off the stage through two tables. Buchanan pinned Jericho when Stephanie interfered. Venis no contest Rikishi. Crash Holly met Samuel L. Jackson at the WWF New York Restaurant and asked Jackson to protect him. Rock beat Angle via DQ after hitting the people's elbow, HHH interfered for the DQ. Kane made the save but Benoit attacked Kane. Kane choke slammed Benoit but then Dogg & X-Pac came out with weapons and laid out Rock & Kane, ending with HHH giving Rock the pedigree. Undertaker came out after the show went off the air and laid out everyone. For the live crowd, as happened in St. Louis the night before, Rock laid out HHH after HHH tried to apologize, and did his poon tang pie speech

Val Venis' bump off the ramp on Smackdown was practiced a few times before the show

At the Raw tapings in Rochester, the office was furious as it was one of the women playing the role as a ho for Godfather that started teasing during the Edge & Christian & Angle match that they was going to take off her top, which took all attention away from the wrestlers and hurt the heat in the match

On the 5/21 Judgment Day PPV in the opener with Rikishi & Too Cool beating Edge & Christian & Angle, the finish didn't go as planned, which was pretty obvious by watching it since Edge kicked out. It was supposed to be a near fall and Angle would make the save and eventually Rikishi & Too Cool would win later. Angle wasn't going to make it in time for the save, so Edge kicked out. Ref Teddy Long, apparently waiting for the save that wasn't there to stop the count, hit the mat at three, I guess figuring there was nothing else he could do, even though Edge seemingly had kicked out beforehand

Rob Etchevarria, who worked dark matches at the tapings last week, is Ontario indie wrestler El Fuego

Jim Ross sent all the wrestlers a memo saying they can't do anymore media appearances or interviews without office approval. There is the feeling from some in the company that they feel doing media work constitutes competition for their own web site. There had been times in the past where the WWF was far more controlling of their talent when it came to media appearances than they are now

The idea seems to be to start a program with Lita chasing Stephanie and the womens title and use Tori in the role of Stephanie's bodyguard

Benoit is supposed to play more of a cocky heel role to eventually get him ready for the planned babyface turn

Chyna will be releasing a fitness video shortly

Shawn Michaels at this point is planned to be used on a sporadic basis when needed, and there are no plans to use him as a weekly character. His main thrust continues to be his wrestling school and promotion in Texas

Billy Gunn is expected back tentatively in September

In the Rec Sports video charts, WWF occupied spots one through five this week with new Rock release, Eve of Destruction, the original Rock release, Austin vs. McMahon and Wrestlemania 2000. Juggalo Championshit Wrestling was No. 6 and XPW was No. 10, so pro wrestling occupied the top ten spots since WWF had No. 7-9, with the Austin singular video at No. 8, when usually the Austin video has been no lower than No. 2, which tells you just how much being off television means. WWF had 15 of the top 20 tapes and WCW didn't have any. The HHH & Chyna video was at No. 20 which is still ahead of anyone in WCW, but low for the most pushed man in the industry

NCAA heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar signed on Thursday a developmental deal and will start with Ohio Valley Wrestling during the latter part of the summer. He's currently training with Brad Rheingans in Minnesota and had commitments to doing wrestling camps in the early summer

Giants Stadium in New York and Soldier Field are officially home fields for two of the XFL teams

Lesnar will make the third NCAA heavyweight champion under contract to the WWF, the others being Kurt Angle and Sylvester Terkey (The Collector in Ohio Valley). We'll probably do a feature sometime soon on NCAA champions that have gone into pro wrestling, but historically, there are far more hits than misses. In the heavyweight division, the ones who tried pro wrestling were Earl McCready, who was one of the biggest stars ever in Canada and a Hall of Famer; Leonard "Butch" Levy, who was never a superstar but a solid star in Minnesota; George Bollas, who was a major star internationally as one of the most famous masked men ever as The Zebra Kid; Dick Hutton, who held the NWA world heavyweight title; Verne Gagne, who was one of the biggest stars in the history of the industry; Dale Lewis, who was a solid journeyman performer who was a successful wrestler in some territories but not a superstar; Greg Wojciechowski, who never made it past the indie level; Chris Taylor, who had awesome name recognition coming out of the Olympics but never clicked as a pro and died very young; Angle and Terkey. Out of the eight in the past, you've got two in the Hall of Fame, two other major stars, two stars and the only two who didn't make it were Wojo and Taylor. Those are a lot better odds than any other group of performers. And Angle is going to make it near the top. Terkey is way too soon to make any sort of determination

On the 6/8 Smackdown show, the Benoit vs. Jeff Hardy and Guerrero vs. Matt Hardy matches were both good. The funniest thing was Michael Cole screaming about how Rikishi was splashing Venis from ten feet in the air off the ramp. The very moment he's screaming about the ramp being ten feet in the air, you see Rikishi standing up and the ramp is about as high as his shoulders

WWF Aggression felt to No. 100 on the charts this past week with 13,596 sales

Regarding Hennig, whose WCW contract expires shortly, there is some question whether he would even get an offer. At 42, and with a history of being a major star, there is a question if he would be a harmonious force in the dressing room if he was relegated to an undercard role. The same situation would also hold true, but with even more emphasis, if WCW were to fire Luger. Hennig has the minor advantages over Luger in that when he's motivated, he is a very good worker and that he didn't leave the WWF on nearly the bad terms Luger did, as Luger actually wrestled over the weekend with the WWF, and with the knowledge of literally nobody in the company (although it was known two weeks earlier that he was in serious negotiations with WCW because at one point there was a plan for WCW to introduce him just before Nitro was to debut and that fell through and those in the WWF were aware of those negotiations), walked onto the Nitro set at the very first Nitro in 1995 at the Mall of America in Minneapolis to set up a program on television with Hogan

Line-up for the IWA show in Aguas Buenas, PR on 6/16 is Too Cool vs. Edge & Christian for the WWF tag titles, Hombre Dinamita (formerly Savio Vega) vs. Huracan Castillo Jr. in a street fight, 4-way for IWA tag titles with Club WWF (Steve Bradley & Andy Anderson), Star Corporation (Chicky Starr & Victor the Bodyguard), Nueva Generacion (Neuvo Gran Apolo & Ricky Banderas) and Sexy & Sensual (Shan Hall & Andres Borges), a tables match with Fidel Sierra vs. Shane, a hardcore match with Miguel Perez vs. Bob Holly, Kurt Angle vs. Perry Saturn and a choke slam vs. body slam match with Pain vs. Head Hunter #2

There has been talk of bringing Regal in for a program with Guerrero over the European title. Regal is scheduled to appear at the Raw taping on 6/19 in Nashville although it may be in a dark match look as opposed to a return

Multi Channel News wrote about Kid Rock getting the f-word past the censors a few weeks back on Raw. It was funny because Jayson Bernstein, the WWF spokesperson, claimed that the WWF didn't get one angry phone call from parents (you know what cracks me up on those ones is nine times out of ten when they make statements about never getting even one angry call or letter, I've gotten any letters as a cc that was sent to them) and that they edited the replay of the show so the word didn't get through on the West Coast. Of course, that wasn't true either

Rock appeared at an indie show on 6/10 in Davie, FL as his father, Rocky Johnson, was working as Harry Venis' manager on the show. Venis is the Mayor of Davie, FL, who has done several indie matches over the past several years since he became Mayor. The WWF hired Johnson to get Venis in shape for a possible WWF angle

There is a risky booking move as they are booking the America West Arena in Phoenix for both Raw and Smackdown on 9/11 and 9/12. They actually sold out Raw tickets in 90 minutes when they were put on sale this past week and will be putting the Smackdown tickets on sale this week. Because of problems with routing with the nature of the TV tapings schedule (they try and book tours with cities in the same geographical area to make for easier drives and also try and book as much as possible as close to Connecticut to ease the travel on those who work in the

office), they hadn't been in Phoenix since January 1999 so there was a big demand. The only city nearby to do the second taping in was Tucson, and the feeling was the building wasn't large enough so hitting Phoenix a second day was the decision. They have in the past run TV tapings in the same TV markets (San Jose and Oakland, Anaheim and Los Angeles, Meadowlands and/or MSG and Nassau) with no trouble selling out but those are all much larger markets than Phoenix

WWF has offered a developmental deal to Noah Steere, a 6-6, 300 pounder who is expected to be sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling in the summer

Latest U.K. ratings. Nitro on 5/25 drew 210,000 viewers, Raw on 5/26 drew 440,000, Thunder going head-to-head with Raw drew 150,000 and smackdown on 5/27 drew 560,000

Smackdown on 6/6 in Buffalo drew 11,636 paying $386,806. 6/9 in Las Cruces, NM drew 10,738 paying $296,222. 6/10 in Albuquerque, NM drew 10,904 paying $332,487. 6/11 in Columbia, MO drew 4,932 paying $164,430 which is one of the lowest "loaded" (everyone major on the roster except Undertaker, who isn't going on the road yet, and Rock, who had the weekend off) shows of the year. Merchandise at the house shows for the week was $411,922 or $7.79 per head

In Las Cruces, Eddy Guerrero, since the city is near the border, got a gigantic reaction. The report we got said that his reaction was bigger than any he'd ever seen for Hulk Hogan or even Carlos Colon in his prime. They went with Angle vs. Rikishi and Benoit vs. Jericho as the headliners with DX, Rock, Kane, etc. all off Las Cruces and Albuquerque since they have limited dates per month deals and this apparently was considered a lesser priority show than most of the shows during the month. Benoit-Jericho saw Bob Holly hit both guys with a chair but Benoit scored the pin. They had Bossman & Buchanan work as a tag team against the Acolytes, but Buchanan walked out leaving Bossman to get pinned. They ran the same basic show the next night. In Columbia, they went with Kane over HHH via DQ when Road Dogg & X-Pac interfered as the main event. The show was overloaded with three and four-way title matches as they had a three-way for the light heavyweight title (Malenko over Rios and Funaki), and four ways for the IC (Benoit over Snow, Bob Holly and Jericho) and tag titles (Too Cool over Hardys, Edge & Christian & Test & Albert).