Sunday, 31 December 2000

The Two Sheds Review Archives - 2000

Owen Hart - One Year On 

I thought that now would be a good time to look back on the tragic events of one year ago - the tragic death of Owen Hart.


Wrestling has lost many starts over the past year or so - Rick Rude, Louie Spiccoli, Bobby Duncum Jr, and Gorilla Monsoon, to name but a few.

However, Owen's death hit home because we saw the events played out as they actually happened, from the fatal fall to when Jim Ross broke the news to the world.

My personal views, written a few days after the events, were published a few months back, but now, a year on, how has Owen's death affected the wrestling world?

Certainly, the dramatic high flying, ceiling to ring entrances are now a thing of the past. This was an obvious thing. The Hart family filing a lawsuit against the WWF was also obvious. But what was sad was the fact that his brother, Bret "Hitman" Hart seemed to use the tragic events to further his own career. It also caused a rift with his brother-in-law, Davey Boy Smith, who openly criticised Bret's view that because of Owen's death, the WWF should be brought to it's knees. As far as I know, the two haven't spoken in nearly a year.

But what should the WWF, and the wrestling world in general, do to commemorate Owen's death, one year on?

With the re-introduction of the Slammy awards this year, perhaps a new award could be given - the Owen Hart Lifetime Achievement award, which could be awarded to either a current or recently retired WWF superstar. If this were to happen, Mick Foley would be my first choice for this award.

Then, Owen should be inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame. Owen did it all in his time in the WWF - tag-team champion, European champion, Intercontinental champion, King of the Ring - Owen did it all, and came close several times to capturing the big gold.

My final idea would probably never happen. An Owen Hart memorial card could be held. In years past, other memorial events have been held, where stars from several organisations have come together to pay various tributes. It would be nice if stars from the WWF, ECW, WCW , from all over the world could put together their personal and political differences, and come together to pay a tribute to Owen. No storylines, no backstage backstabbing, just great wrestling action. The event itself could be held in Calgary, and the ticket, merchandising, and pay-per-view revenue could be donated to a charity chosen by the Hart family.

Out of my three ideas, the first and third ones probably won't happen. I really do hope the second one does, because Owen deserves nothing less.

The Radicals - Where Are They Now?

As I write this, just a few days before Fully Loaded, I thought I would take the time to ask where four men who got the wrestling world talking a about six months ago were doing now. So let us begin....

DEAN MALENKO - I always thought that Dean had talent, and since he went to the WWF, he has achieved a great deal. After the ludicrous light-heavyweight title reign of Dwayne Gill, Dean brought some much needed credibility to the title. Sadly, now, he seems to have very few contenders for his crown, and he seems to have become a little bogged down. His angle with the ladies is good, but he could do with a big push. Perhaps have X-Pac make a run at the title, or a series of matches with Crash Holly.

EDDIE GUERRERO - This man has achieved great sucess with the fans. To be honest, I had my doubts about the Latino Heat angle. I thought it was nothing more than a racial stereotype, but it is really starting to grow on me. His pairing with Chyna was also a good move. Whereas in WCW he was serious all the time, Eddie looks like he is really having fun now. Perhaps a series of Malenko/Guerrero double title matches would also be a good idea.

PERRY SATURN - Oh dear! Where do I begin? There is no doubting this man's talent, but he doesn't seem to have done much. A run a the Hardcore title ended in failure, his team with D-Lo Brown went nowhere, and a niggling back injury starting to slow him down. A lack of mic time isn't helping matters also. If anyone was deserving of a push then it's Saturn, and if you believe the rumours, then this could happen soon. Perhaps teaming again with the incoming Scott "Raven" Levy could be the thing he needs.

CHRIS BENOIT - Where do I begin? In under six months, Benoit has won the Intercontinental title, had a classic series of matches with Chris Jericho, and is now about to be elevated to main event status, facing The Rock for te WWF title at Fully Loaded. Benoit is main event material, and I hope those people in Atlanta are looking at him now and kicking themselves for letting such a great talent slip out of their hands. Benoit is perhaps the greatest technical wrestler competing today. He is the best there is at what he does, and in closing, I would like to ask this - how long did it take him to reach the top in WCW? The words misuse of talent come to mind once again. Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff, are you paying attention?

Until next time.....

Hogan v Russo - Work or Shoot?

Hey everyone! How are things? Well, this is my first "proper" column for TWA, so before I go any further, I'd like to thank a few people - James Ellis at Stunner, Nick Allen at Tombstone, James Gallagher at The Main Event, and a special hi to Junkpile - you truly are the man! 

Now, ever since the Great American Bash, it seems like every wrestling writer in the world (except Luis in New York) has been writing about the Hogan/Russo thing. I know I'm a bit late, but hey, I'm new to this rag, so cut me some slack!
 
So - Hogan and Russo - work or shoot? My opinion - who cares? If it means that I won't see Hogan in a ring again, then all the better!
 
It's a well known fact among the fanzine writers of Britain that I don't like Hogan. Never have, never will. I found his WWF title reigns very boring. I found the reigns of Bret Hart, Ric Flair, and even The Ultimate Ego and Yoko"I need three airline seats"zuna better than any of Hogans.
 
It was always obvious that Hogan would win his matches, whether he be up against the technical skill of Randy Savage of Ted Dibiase, or the sheer power of Andre The Giant or King Kong Bundy. A typical Hogan match consisted of Hogan brawling at first, his opponent getting him in either a sleeper or chinlock on the mat, Hogan brawling again, his opponent using his finisher, and Hogan kicking out and winning with a big foot/legdrop combo. Same thing every time.
 
Hogan going to WCW was good for wrestling, and gave the WWF the kick up the ass it needed (that's another story perhaps). But now that Hogan is apparently gone from WCW, if he still wanted to compete. Where could he go?
 
SCENARIO #1 The independant scene. A non-starter. No one could afford his over-priced carcass.
 
SCENARIO #2 ECW. I really don't think this would happen. I can't see Paul Heyman giving Hogan the type of concessions Eric Bischoff did. Full creative control over his matches? I don't think so. Guys like Justin Credible, Rob Van Dam, Tommy Dreamer, Rhino and The Sandman are ECW to the bone, and I don't think they would take too kindly to Hogan coming into their domain and demanding the ECW world title.
 
SCENARIO #3 The WWF. Rumour has it that Vince McMahon would love his prodigal son to return, and I have to admit that this would have some novelty value for me. Last year I wrote a short fictional story, where Hogan returned to the WWF for his final match, and Steve Austin challenging him. While an Austin/Hogan match looks unlikely, how about The Rock v Hogan, or Triple H v Hogan? While I admit that these would be good business for a pay-per-view, the creative control thing would come into play again. In my opinion, Hogan would only be allowed to win the WWF title again in his last ever match. I doubt if he would defend it week in and week out on Raw or Smackdown, let alone house shows. If he did win it in his last match, it could be looked upon as his crowning glory, the first man to ever retire as WWF champion.
 
In closing - if I were Hogan's career counsellor, I would advise trying the WWF thing, and then doing some of those awful straight to video movies he does so well (3 Ninjas Drop Acid?) Make some wise investments, live off the interest his money would earn, and then please, please, please stay off my television screen! I've had enough of his ego! 

Until next time.....   

Random Ramblings August 2000
Hey folks! How is everyone! A few words to Sam Jerry, of Rounding the Squared Circle fame - the TRUE inspiration to last week's column. Sorry Jordan, you should have told me! And a big hey to Junkpile!

This week, I had intended to write about The Undertaker, one of my all time favourites, but I changed my mind at the last minute. You see, probably like many of the writers of this fine publication, I also receive many other wrestling newsletters, as I'm sure many of you do as well. It was in a rival newsletter the other day that I saw something rather distasteful - I will not name names here - writer A was criticising writer B because writer B only wrote about the WWF. In response to this, I say - so what's the big deal? If this person wants to write solely about the WWF, then so what?In the upcoming weeks and months, I will probably be writing more about the WWF than any of the other feds. The reason for this is simple - I like the WWF, and watch the WWF, more than I do any other federation. This is because I think that WCW is severely lacking in program content and storylines, and ECW, well, I haven't been watching it that long to form a really credible (no offence Justin) opinion on matters there. Lack of decent programmes and PPVs in Britain is the reason behind this.

So to writer B, I say this - don't let writer A put you off. You are a fine writer, and if you only want to write about the WWF, then carry on. After all, does anyone criticise Ray Bradbury or Arthur C. Clarke for writing just science fiction novels?Now I've got that off my chest - I know this is a non-wrestling matter - but I would like to urge all in Britain to go and see the new X-Men film when it comes out on the 18th! I've been a fan since I could talk, so I'm really looking forward to this.Finally, the main event for Summerslam - The Rock v Triple H AGAIN? Okay, so Kurt Angle has been thrown into the mix, but come on! Enough already! It's obvious that this is being set up so either Kurt or Triple H will turn babyface. So what happened to the Rock/Benoit fued? This had the makings for the feud of the year, and now it's suddenly gone! Come on Vince McMahon!

Until next time.....

Mark Calloway - On The Undertaker's Last Ride

Congratulations to everyone and everything to do with TWA! Happy 200th! A good job done by all!

And congratulations to Emma! Have fun at Nottingham University!

And now, down to business. This week - MARK CALLOWAY - ON THE UNDERTAKER'S LAST RIDE.

I think it would be fair to say that in all of my years of watching wrestling, all these years watching technical wizards, monstrous powerhouses, high-flying marvels, that The Undertaker is probably one of my all time favourites. Having been misused by WCW (where have I heard that before), Mark Calloway came to the WWF in 1990, and became the most lethal force to ever enter a McMahon ring - The Undertaker. With Brother Love as his manager, the Undertaker totally destroyed Koko B. Ware, Dusty Rhodes and The Hart Foundation.

This was an awesome spectacle, which really hit it's stride when Brother Love was replaced by Paul Bearer. Before I start sounding like a history teacher, just look at the names he dominated - Jimmy Snuka, Jake Roberts, Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Giant Gonzalez, Yokozuna, Mabel, Steve Austin, Bret Hart, Kevin Nash, Kane, Mick Foley, Kamala - the list goes on and on.

But the Undertaker I was in awe of changed recently - the Lord of Darkness morphed into the American Bad Aass. But why did this change take place? Here is my theory. During the latter days of the Lord of Darkness, he began to physically slow down. This was probably the reason he was teamed with the Big Show. As part of a team, the Big Show could paper over the cracks that began to appear in the Undertaker's armoury. Mark Calloway took time off, months off, to heal. The many injuries that had accumalayed over the years - knee, shoulder, back. It was probably during this time that the change occured. When he returned as the American Bad Ass, it wasn't just the music and clothing that had changed. The wrestling style had also. Gone were the awesome top rope walks, the power clotheslines, the moves that made him the most agile big man in wrestling.

Watching him in the ring, it was obvious, in my opinion anyway, that he had come back too soon. Look at the heavily strapped elbow. Look at the way he moves around the ring. The limp is plain for all to see, and when he moves around quickly, he looks awkward. And the most obvious change - the finishing move. The Tombstone piledriver is now gone. With his knee problems, the move would put tremendous pressure on his knees. So the Tombstone was replaced by the Last Ride powerbomb.

The change was complete. The Lord of Darkness had become what seemed like an amalgamation of Steve Austin and Kevin Nash - the American Bad Ass.

It seems that in my articles here I am saying that certain people should retire. With Hogan it's because he's 47, and I don't like him. With Mark, it's totally different. I admire him as an athlete, an entertainer, and most of all, as a person. He has provided me, and the rest of the world, with great entertainment over the past 10 years, and I would really hate to see anything happen to him, so, for his own sake, for his own health, I hope he sees sense soon, and doesn't become the injury-ridden lumbering hulk that was Andre The Giant in his later years.

Until next time....  
  

Random Ramblings August 2000 Part 2

Hey everyone! With Summerslam just around the corner, here are my views on this upcoming spectacular, and a few other things in the wrestling world. I know this is my second column this week, but hey! I've got a lot to say! And unlike a certain other wrestling newsletter, whose columnists just seem to spend their time insulting each other, I'm going to talk (mainly) about wrestling. So here goes.....

The Rock v Triple H - again! Okay, I know King Kurt has been thrown into the mix, and this is nothing more than a ploy to turn Triple H from a heel into a babyface, but come on! Couldn't the bookers come up with something more imaginative?
 
Gordon Solie - one of the true announcing greats has been lost to us. Rest in piece.
 
The news that Hulk Hogan is suing WCW and Vince Russo for defammation of character comes as no surprise to me - here's my view - HOGAN, YOU ARE A JERK! YOU ARE A CRAP WRESTLER AND AN EVEN WORSE ACTOR, and I expect to be hearing from your lawyers sometime soon.

I have just seen the new X-Men film, and I thought Tyler Mane was perfect as Sabretooth. But can someone help me out here. I read that he competed in WCW as Big Sky. The name sounds famliar but I just can't place it. When was he in WCW? Who did he beat or fued with? Some help here would be appreciated.
 
Great to see Vince McMahon back on Raw recently, if only for a few minutes. Rumour has it Vince wants to buy the Boston Red Sox. Perhaps I could get him to buy my beloved soccer team, Norwich City, then, with Vinny Mac's millions backing us up, we wouldn't have to sell our best players all the time! And I can just see Wrestlemania coming from Carrow Road!

Rumour also has it that Vince would welcome Ken Shamrock back with open arms. Good on him! The sooner the better I say! Why? Because I think Benoit v Shamrock would make an excellant match.

Non wrestling topic - Nick Bateman - hah!
 
I saw RVD's Van Terminator for the first time last week. One word can describe this move - awesome.
 
I also saw an advert for the new WCW action figure ring - you know, the one that plays music and all that stuff. The voice over said "Hear Kevin Nash's music as he comes down to the ring!" What it should have said was "Hear Hulk Hogan's lawyers issue lawsuit papers against Vince Russo! Hear the door slam on the careers of many top WCW stars! Hear Kanyon, Big Poppa Pump and Goldberg whine and bitch about everything!"

Until next time....
   

Summerslam 2000 Preview

Welcome everyone to The Shed. Before I go on, I'd just like to say that I'm keeping The Sheds Poll open for a while longer - sadly, I only received THREE votes - so please, I'm begging ya! The question was - Who do you think has made the easiest transistion from wrestling to acting?

And now.... THE TWO SHEDS PREVIEW In this segment, I will preview the matches at Summerslam, giving my views on them. This will be followed next week by The Two Sheds Review. So here goes.
 
X-PAC V ROAD DOGG - Why is JR hyping what's left of DX as the greatest team going when they have never won tag gold together? This team is good, but Road Dogg and Bad Ass were better! Why do I get the feeling that the aforementioned Mr. Gunn may be making an appearance? My prediction - X-Pac, but only just.
 
THE KAT V TERRI - Puppies! Kittens! Thongs! Yes, I know I sound like a sexist pig! Word of advice to British readers - either watch the program live, tape it, or watch the re-run next Thursday. Don't watch the re-run next Monday afternoon. They'll probably heavily edit this match. My prediction - I don't care! Just show me the puppies!
 
TOO COOL/RIKISHI V RTC - Ironic that I should be writing about this match after the last one. RTC is a good gimmick, and it's good to see that Steven Richards has found his WWF role. Will Rikishi turn? I really don't know. But Too Cool need a really good feud. So far,they haven't had one, and I don't think they'll start one here. My prediction - RTC.

VAL VENIS/TRISH STRATUS V EDDY GUERRERO/CHYNA Intercontinental Title Match - So what the hell has happened to Val? His personality is fading so fast people might start comparing him to Bob Backlund! If it wasn't for Trish, people would start snoozing during his matches! My prediction - Trish will probably get pinned in this one - by Chyna me thinks, seeing Eddy and Chyna split up and feuding over IC gold.

SHANE McMAHON V STEVE BLACKMAN Hardcore title match. - Once again nepitism rears it's ugly head, as prodigal son Shane once again gets gold. Blackman had finally found his niche has hardcore champ. My prediction - let's hope Blackman gets the belt back - by smacking Shane upside the head with his kendo stick.

DUDLEYS V HARDYZ V EDGE/CHRISTIAN Tag title/TLC match - If this is just half as good as their Wrestlemania encounter then this could be the match of the night. This one could really steal the show. My prediction - it's in NC, so it will probably be the Hardyz.

TAZZ V JERRY LAWLER - Some have written this week that this is nothing more than a gimmick match. They obviously don't know the full history behind this. This is a fitting tribute to the late, great Gordon Solie, and I hope he enjoys what he sees, wherever he is now. My prediction - love to see The King win, but my feelings say Tazz.

CHRIS JERICHO V CHRIS BENOIT Best of 3 falls - I have gone on record as saying that this is the feud of the year for me, and although I would have liked to see Benoit get another shot at The Rock, perhaps in a best of 3 falls match, this will prove a more than adequate replacement. My prediction - one fall each before the time limit runs out.

THE UNDERTAKER V KANE - Well, we haven't seen this before have we? And who can we blame for this? The Big Show. If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have to live through chapter 999,999 of this ongoing feud. The only change here is that The Undertaker is now a Bad Ass and not a Lord of Darkness. My prediction - who cares! I may decide to go to the toilet or something when this one comes on!

THE ROCK V TRIPLE H V KURT ANGLE WWF Championship match - The Rock v Triple H is fast becoming the Hogan v Savage of today. Those two old farts have been at it since the dawn of time, and I get the feeling that we could be seeing the Great One and the Game going on for just as long. Okay, I know Kurt Angle has been thrown into the mix, but as I've just said, I would have preferred another Rock/Benoit battle. This is just a ploy to get SMH away from Triple H and siding up to King Kurt. They could, and should have, picked another way. My predicton - The Rock.
 
Well, that's The Two Sheds Preview. Please forgive me if I haven't include all the matches (or got some wrong), but as I
write this (Saturday afternon), I haven't seen Smackdown yet, so I know things might change. 

Until next time.....  

My First Daily Smackdown Column

Welcome to the inaugural edition of The Two Sheds Review, here in the hallowed pages of the Daily Smackdown Newsletter. Some of you may know me from my work on various wrestling fanzines and newsletters, so to all of you, I say hello!

To those who don't know me, and are probably wondering who the hell this guy is - well you're probably really wondering where the f#+k am I going to get some bloody petrol at the moment - let me tell you a little bit about myself. I am 28 years old, and I have been watching wrestling for as long as I can remember.

My wrestling viewing dates back to the days of Kendo Nagasaki and Big Daddy. Yes, my memory is that long! I've probably been writing for nearly as long, having been encouraged to do so first by my late mother, and then, in latter years, by my brother Paul.

However, it has only been in the past couple of years that I have been writing about wrestling, and after years of writing various science fiction and fantasy stories, it is my wrestling work which has finally been published. It is my hope that in these columns I will be able to air my views and thoughts on the world of professional wrestling, and hopefully provide some entertainment for you, the reader.

Now, I know one of my fellow columnists wil probably slag me of for doing this, but I will probably end up writing about the WWF the majority of the time. The reason for this is simple - the WWF is my favourite federation. It has been since I first started watching it seriously in 1989. I watch WCW, but like many others, I don't think they can hold a torch to the WWF at all these days. I hardly ever watch Nitro or Thunder these days, and to be perfectly honest with you, I don't think even Sir Vince of Russo could do anything to help them out now. And ECW? Well, I'm afraid the jury is still out on this one. The lack of PPVs and unedited programming here in Britain makes it hard for me to form a really credible (no offence Justin) on Heymanland. Okay, I find much of what they do entertaining, and I think that Justin Credible and RVD are two of the top performers in wrestling today, but I would really like to see more on British screens.
 
So there you have it. I hope to spend many months (or as long as David will have me) using DSD as a platform, hoping that it will perhaps, a very big perhaps, get me that writing job I've always wanted!

But before I go, you're probably asking yourself - why The Two Sheds Review? Why that name? Some of you older people (or students) will be correct in the assumption that it has a connection to Monty Python. It also has a connection to the WWF Attitude PSX game. Hope this answers your question. So, once a week, or maybe more, if David allows this, The TSR (hey, this sounds catchy!) will be on the screen before you. I hope you enjoy what you see, and I welcome your feedback.

Until next time....

Acting Wrestlers

Firstly, I would like to thank Jordan and everyone at Powerbomb for publishing my article last week, and for letting me use it as a form of therapy. And I'd like to thank those who supported what I had to say.

And now, some sad news. The Wrasslin Analysis, the other email newsletter I wrote for, has sadly closed it's doors. I am very saddened by this news, because, although I only worked on it for a short time, TWA was the first email newsletter I wrote for. Luckily, the editor, Mr. TWA (or Michael to us who know him) is in the process of becoming the editor of another email newsletter. More news when I have it.

I hope that many of you recent subscribers came to Powerbomb because of the hype I provided in my TWA column. If this is the case, then I say - welcome, enjoy. Please spread the word.

And now down to business. You may recall that a few weeks ago, here, and in TWA, I started a poll - who do you think has made the easiest transition from wrestling to acting? Sadly, I received very few votes. But with the news that we have had so many new subscribers, I would like to pose this question to you again, and I hope I can inspire you to vote with the following words.
 
Many would think that the transition from wrestling to acting would be quite easy, given the training in mic skills that almost all current wrestlers undergo. Many, such as Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Triple H and The Rock seem natural talkers, well acustomed to public speaking. Indeed, these four are fine examples of how they have carried these talents into the acting world, and have received good reviews for doing this.
 
But this was not always the case. In years gone by, mic skills were not needed. An early example of this would be Swedish grappler Tor Johnson, who appeared in such "classics" as Plan 9 From Outer Space. From what I gather, Tor was a fine wrestler, but not much good at talking. Other wrestlers of note who ventured into the acting ranks included Toru Tanaka, as the legendary Bond villian OddJob. Another is Pat Roach, the legendary British grappler who received much acclaim for his role in Auf Widersein Pet (please excuse the spelling, I never took German).
 
But some have not found it so easy. Take Hulk Hogan for instance. His wrestling character mainly consisted of him shouting and bellowing during his interviews, yet, when acting, when speaking in his normal, softer voice, his delivery of lines seemed somewhat strained. Even now, after all of these years, and all of those films, he just doesn't seem able to cut it. In my opinion, there have been two wrestlers who were able to make it, although in a somewhat limited capacity, in the acting world. Jesse Ventura is now probably best known for his foray into politics, for which he has earned much respect. But his acting also earned him some respect as well. In Predator, starring with Arnold Schwarzaneggar (again please excuse the spelling) he was a cold, brooding mercanary who sadly met his end against the lethal alien warrior. His most memorable scene - probably the one where he got his guts blown open. In The Running Man, again with Arnold, he was the retired Stalker, harking back to the days of old when stalkers didn't use fancy weapons and gadgets to catch their prey. His fitness show was one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

But for me, the best acting stint from a wrestler came from Roddy Piper, in the John Carpenter classic They Live. Piper played an average everyday bloke, wandering around America, just looking for a break, who finds a pair of sunglasses and accidentally discovers an alien plot to take over the world through subliminal advertising. I know this sounds corny to those who haven't seen the film, but as a big sci-fi fan, to me, this is a classic, and his line "I have come here to chew bubble gum and to kick ass - and I'm all out of bubble gum" is one of my all time favourites. Piper went on to film such "classics" as Hell Comes to Frogtown, and starred in a number of TV series, such as Highlander. A little know fact in Britain is that Piper and Ventura actually had a series together - called Tag-Team - about a pair of retired
wrestlers who become private eyes. Sadly, this has never been seen in Britain, and was cancelled early on. If anyone can get me a copy of the pilot I'd be grateful!

So there you have it. Some of you may be annoyed that I haven't chosen Austin or The Rock. The reason for this is simple. I have never seen Austin act, not even on Nash Bridges, and I've only seen The Rock act briefly on Star Trek:Voyager, whereas I have seen Piper's and Ventura's acting talents many times over, so it wouldn't have been fair to rave about Austin or The Rock here. I strongly recommend either buying or renting Predator, The Running Man or They Live. These are three great films, and not just because of Piper or Ventura. So please, cast your vote in the Two Sheds Poll - who do you think has made the easiest transition from wrestling to acting? If enough of you vote, I will publish the results in a few weeks. 

Until next time.....     

Random Ramblings October 2000
Hello, and welcome to this week's edition of The Two Sheds Review. I'm going to write about a couple of things, one is to do with wrestling (sort of) and the other has a slight, long past connection with wrestling.

On Saturday, 7th October, the last major sporting event at the historical Wembley Stadium, when England play Germany in a World Cup qualifying match, will take place. Wembley Stadium is known the world over. It is the home of the FA Cup Final, the League Cup Final. It has seen many memorable sporting events there. The infamous Stanley Matthews cup final. The so-called "white horse" final. Henry Cooper floored Cassius Clay there. In 1985, Live Aid began there. Many great bands over the years have played there, and English footballs's last great moment, the 1966 World Cup Final, and THAT Kenneth Wolstenholme sentence, will always be associated with Wembley.

Oh, and Summerslam 92 was there as well.

I hope that England and Germany put on a football match befitting this occasion. Wembley Stadium demands no less.And now, down to wrestling. In the past two days I have had two pieces of bad news with regards to my wrestling/writing career. Yesterday I got the news that Powerbomb Wrestling News, an email newsletter, had folded.  

This publication, founded by Jordan Allsworth, had both been going that long. Yours truly was the first column writer recruited onto the newsletter, and I am saddened that it is no more.

Today, the fanzine, The Main Event, which is just over a year old, also folded. Founded by James Gallagher, it was well put together, and even though I had only been writing for James for a few months, we had a pretty good relationship, and I am saddened by this demise as well.

But I began to ask myself why these two publications have folded. The answer was soon forthcoming, and was quite simple - lack of advertising. At this moment in time, I currently subscribe to five email newsletters, and I write for two of them. But how did I find out about these newsletters? I saw an advertisement for one, and saw others advertised in that one, and subscribed to those as well. Basically, a cyberspace form of word of mouth.

This is where, I believe, James and Jordan went wrong. I'm not going to put these fellas down, because they are really great people and talented writers, but the major mistake they made with their publications is not advertising them. While writing for them, I heavily hyped Powerbomb and TME, but even though this helped raise the readership of both slightly, this was not enough. I offered to help them both with advertising by putting them in touch with various editors, but sadly, my words fell on deaf ears. It is my hope that their views on the wrestling world will not go unheard for long. Although James said he was in it to make money, and Jordan said he didn't really have the time, it is my hope that soon, very soon, we will see their views on all aspects of the sports entertainment world somewhere, very soon. I would like to wish the both of you the very best of luck in whatever you choose to do.

Sorry I didn't talk much about actual wrestling news this week, but this is related to wrestling at least! Not like that fella who had an article in one newsletter about Channel 4's animation week! Or the current state of dance music!

Until next time.....  

British Television's Two-Faced Double Standards

As many of my fellow Brits know, Bravo has recently begun to show WCW Nitro on Thursdays at 10pm. This is a positive move for WCW in this country. It no longer clashes with Raw, and ison the same channel that gives us ECW (although in a somewhat limited capacity).

But I saw something that I found rather annoying last week. In one segment, Mike Sanders had an in-ring confrontation with The Cat. At several points during this, the crowd let their views and feelings on Sanders be known, by chanting ASSHOLE. Hoever, we Brits did not actually hear this. When this chant started, the sound went dead. We saw the following at the bottom of the screen - "We would like to apologise for the temporary loss of sound." This happened several times.

Now, this is what annoys me. This programme was shown at 10pm, after the watershed. In this same time slot, Bravo shows programmes documenting gruesome murders, the classic adult cartoon series Spawn, in all it's gory glory, and several series dedicated to the adult film industry. They show post mortems, people getting their guts blown out and their heads blown off, and tits and asses of all shapes and colours. And yet they censor the word ASSHOLE, but sow much stronger language on their other programmes in this timeslot.

Also, does anyone remember when Bravo re-launched themselves a few years back? Before this re-launch, they showed such classic cult fiar like The Avengers, Time Tunnel, and many more like this. When they re-launched themselves, they showed films and programmes that made Twin Peak look positively normal. The stuff they showed was, to be quite honest, fucking weird (apart from the Japanese Anime). They lost viewers by the bucket load, and this is the reason they now show programmes like Knight Rider, Street Hawk, Cops, those I mentioned earlier, and ECW and WCW.

So why is it we are allowed to see a porn film being made, but aren't allowed to hear the word ASSHOLE? To the head honchos at Bravo, I hope you are reading this, because I await your response. It's just like that Channel 4/WWF Heat thing all over again.
 
Until next time.....   

The Ass Man Cometh
And so the Ass Man cometh. Rikishi, the former cannibal and fake Arabian who failed to "make a difference" has stepped forward from the bleached blonded identity parade, left Too Fools behind, and announced himself as the man who squashed the rattlesnake with the aid of a car, and all in the name of his fellow island inhabitants.

While I admit it is nice to see the WWF powers that be push another hard working athlete to main event status, after years of questionable gimmicks, I have my doubts as to the reasons they are giving him for attacking Victoria's most famous export. For all his fellow islanders? Can anyone say Nation of Domination? I can just see it now. Samoans and Tongans from years gone by - Jimmy Snuka, Tama, Samu, Haku, Afa, Siki, the Tonga Kid - I could go on for years here - will be marched out before us, claiming how proud they are that Rikishi, on behalf of all these homeboys, ran down the great if somewhat beat down white hope in Stone Cold.

But is this really the beginning of the run-in to Wrestlemania? Are we really going to be led to believe that eventually, we wil be told that Rikishi was acting under orders from the People's Champion? Probably. But do we really want to see another bout of gang warfare in the WWF based upon racial lines? I really don't know. Was I surprised when Rikishi was announced as the man? Yes. I thought it would be someone like Chris Jericho, or perhaps even Raven.

This is perhaps one of the few times recently that I could not predict what the WWF was going to do. When you can successfully predict six out of eight pay-per-view matches, you realise that things are starting to get a little too.....well, predictable. By announcing Rikishi as the man, they fooled everyone. Leaving Too Fools behind could be the best move the big man has ever made in his career. The two clowns were doing nothing more than holding him back.But will the match with Austin be a classic? Probably not. How good will a match between a man with a dodgy knee and another man with a dodgy neck be? I'm getting flashbacks of Hulk Hogan's "return" match with Earthquake here. 

But I must admit, I am looking forward to this encounter. It may not be a match for the ages, but it will be rather interesting.

Finally, a quick get well message to one Luigi Birriterri, who at this moment is currently recovering from surgery after a vicious encounter with a cactus. I understand a re-match, possibly a Hell In A Cell encounter, is pencilled in for Wrestlemania 17 next March. Get well soon you dumb assed fool! 

Until next time..... 

No Mercy 2000 Preview
Welcome to The Two Sheds Preview (okay, I know you've heard from me already this week, but hey! It's WWF
pay-per-view time again!)
 
This will follow a slightly different format from my usual columns. I've got the old Two Sheds crystal ball out again, dusted it off, and shined it up real nice in an attempt to predict what will happen in just over 24 hours time at No Mercy. And after much negotiation, yours truly has got Monday off, missing our new weekly staff meetings, so, with a couple of tins of Red Bull, a big bag of cheese puffs, and a bar of Galaxy chocolate, I'll be sitting on my sofa, trying to stay awake, watching the action as it happens. But enough of this. What does the crystal ball tell me today.....

"STONE COLD" STEVE AUSTIN V RIKISHI No Holds Barred. As I said earlier this week, how good can a match between a man with a dodgy neck and a man with a dodgy knee be? Although good to see Austin back where he belongs, I don't think this will be a classic. No Holds Barred is right up Austin's alley. The Two Sheds Prediction; Austin.

THE ROCK (c) V KURT ANGLE WWF Championship. King Kurt, along with his new Princess Stephanie, aims to add WWF gold to his Olympic gold. This has the promise to be a great match. The Rock showed that he does have some good technical skill in his matches with Chris Benoit. However, I don't think Angle, just under a year from his TV debut, is the right man to become WWF champion. Mind you, I said before that I would love Benoit to become champion, and he's been around less than ten months. The Two Sheds Prediction; The Rock.

TRIPLE H V CHRIS BENOIT. Thes two faced each other in Benoit's first WWF television match. Triple H won that day, but this Benoit is a totally different animal. He has found his niche in the wrestling world after years of misuse in WCW. He is a future WWF champion, and beating Triple H will show what he is capable of. However, I'm not counting The Game out. He is quickly becoming one of the most popular men in the WWF. This could be the match of the night. The Two Sheds Prediction; Benoit.

CHRIS JERICHO V X-PAC Steel Cage Match. Two words - oh dear! A couple of months back Jericho was in a triple main event taking Triple H to the limit in a match of the year candidate. Now he's in a pointless feud against the 3 move wonder. Y2J deserves much more than this, even a match for the European title would have done. X-Pac would have been better off in the light-heavyweight division. His name alone could elevate that under-used division. The Two Sheds Prediction; Jericho.

THE HARDY BOYS (c) V LOS CONQUISTADORES Tag-Team Title Match. Okay, we know the guys in gold are really from Canada and not South America, but hey, this gimmick is good! Especially their commentary on Raw a couple of weeks back. Many are saying that these two facing each other again is getting a little boring, but this whole new gimmick pepped up things a lot. The Two Sheds Prediction; Los Conquistadores.

THE ACOLYTES & LITA V T&A & TRISH STRATUS. Rumour is that there will be some nudity from the buxom wench with nice bristols. If there is, I say so what! Up yours PTC! Up yours Mary Whitehouse! But seriously, T&A (the tag-team, that is) aren't really one of my favourites, but The Acolytes are. The Two Sheds Prediction; The Acolytes & Lita.

WILLIAM REGAL (c) V MIDEON European Title Match. I am really pleased that after a long wait, we once again have a European Champion from Europe. I have been impressed with Regal, both in and out of the ring, since his WWF return. This match with Mideon, a former European champion himself, will not be a classic. But I do hope one thing - I hope Mideon does put some clothes on! The Two Sheds Prediction; Regal.

CHYNA & MR. ASS V STEVEN RICHARDS & BULL BUCHANAN Sadly, due to Eddie Guerrero's hamstring injury, a returning Billy Gunn is not getting his IC title match. That match promised much, but this one, I'm not too sure about. The RTC members will probably mention Chyna's Playboy shoot, and I have a feeling it will be the Bad Ass that gets pinned. The Two Sheds Prediction; Richards & Buchanan.

THE DUDLEY BOYS V VAL VENIS/GOODFATHER V TOO COOL V TAZZ/RAVEN V LO-DOWN Invitational Table Match. I don't really know the background to this match, but on paper, this promises much. It could rank up against those Hardcore battle royals of months past for action and excitement. The Two Sheds Prediction; The Dudleys.So there you have it. The old crystal ball is starting to fog over now. Yours truly will be back on Monday with his review of the happenings at No Mercy. 

Until next time.....   

Yokozuna
The wrestling world was shocked this week when the death of Rodney Anoai, known throughout the world as Yokozina, was announced last Monday. For me it has overshadowed all other wrestling news.

Many of the newspapers and other media here in Britain have been very respectful to Anoai, with regards to himself, his profession, and his family. However, we've had the usual tabloid idiots spouting their crap, saying that it was his well known fear of spiders that killed him. Some also made fun of the fact that he was a wrestler, treating wrestling as nothing more than a kid's cartoon.

Anoai had his greatest success in the WWF, winning the World title twice, defeating Bret Hart at Wrestlemania IX, before losing it moments later to Hulk Hogan. He later regained the title from Hogan at the first King Of The Ring pay-per-view.At Wrestlemania X, having defended the title against Lex Luger, he would later lost it to Bret Hart. A year later, he was announced as Owen Hart's mystery partner, and won tag-team gold by defeating Billy and Bart Gunn.Along the way, as the top heel in the company in the mid-90's, he had some classic feuds, with Lex Luger, and most notably, The Undertaker.

Anoai had, in the past few months, been doing the circuits here in Britain. There was a story a few months ago on how he had to wait three days to catch a flight to Britain, because he needed three airline seats, and none were available.Then, of course, there was the story about his fear of spiders. Hey, this could happen to anyone. Just ask my boss' grandson.

Recently, Anoai spoke of his struggle in life as an outsized man, especially in British hotel rooms built for the smaller man. Yet he said his problems were eased by the fact that wherever he went, people stopped him and shook his hand, and that everyone was so friendly.

He also spoke of his massive appetite - 240 eggs a day, 12 pieces of chicken, and a bucket-size portion of Japanese rice, which he took with him wherever he travelled. Anoai is survived by a wife and two children.

Yokozuna wasn't exactly one of my favourites (except when he was beating Hogan), but like most wrestlers who give their all in their chosen life, who are happy with their work, and are pleased to entertain the fans, he had my respect. Wrestling has lost many great starts over the past couple of years, and I hope that I don't have to write another article like this in the near future. Rest in peace, big man. I would like to thank the reporters at the Daily Smackdown, The Chokeslam and the Essential Wrestling Newsletter publications, but in particular Russell Jenkins of The Times, who wrote a very good piece, for providing the information in compiling this article. Many thanks.

Bret Hart's Retirement - Jordan Allsworth is Wrong!

I feel I must take responsibility for something.

The other day, while reading The Jord Report, the subject being Bret Hart's retirement, I found myself totally disagreeing with everything Jordan had to say, and later, totally agreeing with everything I saw in The Snake Pit.Bret Hart is probably one of the legends in sports entertainment. It's a safe bet to say that at one time he was probably my favourite wrestler. I have never seen a moretechnically giften man than Bret, with perhaps the exceptions of Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko. Although I haven't exactly agreed with everything Bret has said and done in the past three years, I did have some sorrow for him when he was screwed over by Vince McMahon, I have a lot of respect for old Vince, but what he did to Bret was utter bullshit.

This is, in my opinion, where Bret's career went downhill. And I also have the greatest of sympathies with Bret with regards to Owen. But Jordan's comment's left an awful taste in my mouth. Bret has done what many others in years gone by should have. He got out of the game when he knew his body couldn't take it any more. Does this make him a pussy? NO.

Upon seeing the news, and his statement, my opinion of him, tarnished somewhat in the past three years, grew a little. If only some other wrestlers knew when the time was right, and retired when their bodies couldn't handle it any more.

I know I'm going to get some feedback on this, but if Yokozuna had listened to those doctors in New York, he may be alive now.

So why do I feel a little responsible? Because in the past few months, Jordan and I have formed something of a friendship. I was the first writer recruited to his now defunct Powerbomb Wrestling Newsletter. I encouraged him to add columns to his newsletter, and to distribute it through the egroups system. In return, Jordan got me a copy of the Zeus e-fed program, which I still enjoy tinkering with. When his newsletter folded, I encouraged him to offer his services to one of the other email newsletters. I said his views on the wrestling world were food, and he shouldn't remain silent for long. I was pleased when I learned that David had taken him on.

I'm sorry, Jordan, if you don't like what I'm about to say, but your views on Bret Hart are wrong, totally wrong. Bret has won my respect for getting out now. Lots more could learn by his example, instead of becoming the punch-drunk drugged up losers they will no doubt become. Bret, you've earned my respect back. You were one of the best, and I wish you the best of luck with whatever you choose to do with the rest of your life. See you Friday, folks.
 

My Wrestling Year
Hello, and welcome to the latest instalment of The Two Sheds Rreview. This will be the last piece from me for a couple of weeks. I know this will be disappointing to the seven people who are fans of mine, but hey, I need a break! Next Wednesday, I'm off to Bruges in Belgium for a few days. I'm really looking forward to tis short break, I won't be watching any wrestling, but hopefully I'll be able to see the England/Italy game on some Belgian TV channel.
 
This week's piece will be a little different. Many of you writers will probably be doing a year end review in about six weeks, but as it was my 29th birthday last Wednesday (thanks to those who sent best wishes to me), I thought I would take a look back at the past year, between my 28th and 29th birthdays. Here goes...
 
The 1999 Survivor Series saw two major things - Austin getting "run over" and needing vital neck surgery, and The Big Show becoming WWF champion, this joining the ranks of the few that have held both th WWF & WCW(NWA) titles. Thankfully, Austin is nearly back to his best, but The Big Show? It's amazing that someone who reached the top has fallen to the bottom so quickly.
 
We saw the McMahon-Helmsley era, and the reformation of DX. Princess Stephanie's whiny, shrill voice praising Triple H was really starting to get on my nerves.
 
The Olympic Hero, Kurt Angle, finally made it onto television, defeating the man who bugs (literaly) people, Shawn Stasiak. Kurt would later go onto in the European, Intercontinental and WWF title within ten months. Many have applauded him for being the first to do this, but didn't Kevin Nash win tag-team, IC and WWF gold in his first year as well?
 
The Kat became the first woman to reveal her puppies willingly on WWF television. However, she wasn't the first - British fans remember Jackie a couple of years back, don't they?
 
Bill Goldberg basically ended Bret Hart's career by kicking him in the head. My opinion of Goldberg went downhill afterwards, but my opinion of Bret went up after reading his retirement statement. If only other wrestlers had hung their boots up when their bodies started to give.
 
With my newfound ability to e-mail, I joined an e-fed (hi to Dave and Steve Green out there, e-mail me if you see this.) This was a damn good game that was ruined by the player's lack of imagination, and the fact that most of them were 14. A few (Chris Lee, Calum Hirtle and Basil Richards, again, e-mail me if you see this!), had some great ideas. The game sadly closed down, just as my man Austin was about to get a title shot! People from the game suggested that because I had some great ideas, I should start my own e-fed. The idea appealed to me at first, but then I changed my mind.
 
Vince Russo proved that, despite rumours to the contrary, he is not God, and couldn't turn WCW's fortunes around in six days. Having been replaced and then reinstated, Russo did succeed in doing something that I am very pleased with - getting Hulk Hogan off my television. Good work, Vince.

Yours truly, having written for years, and having written about wrestling since late-98, was finally published by a wrestling fanzine. My ass was later fired by a jealous editor when I told him I had been asked to write for an e-mail newsletter. This is a long story, so I won't go into it now.

I started taking more of an interest when Bravo began to show recent ECW shows. I earned a respect for the likes of The Sandman, Justin Credible, and in particular, Rob Van Dam. Bravo's contract to show ECW runs out early next year. If they don't renew, then I'll get Paul Heyman to send Rhino and the boys around.
 
The nWo reformed agan, but it didn't have the clout of four years ago.
 
Yours truly proved that he is a damn good Playstation wrestler by becoming champion on the WWF Smackdown and WCW Mayhem games. This proves one thing to me - these games are too easy. I look forward to Smackdown 2 in December.
 
Chyna became the first female IC champion. Not long afterwards, Madusa became the first female Cruiserweight champion. Keeping up with the Jones, perhaps?

Wrestlemania, although applauded by many, was not really my favourite Wrestlemania. There was only one one-on-one match on the entire card, and that was between The Kat and Terri. It seemed like they were trying to put everyone on the roster into the event, and although it had some good points, it was a bit disappointing.
 
WCW had umpteen championship changes this year, including David Arquette. I said at the time this was a big mistake. If you are going to let an actor become champion, at least get one with an athletic background, someone like Jackie Chan or Jean-Claude Van Damme.
 
I saw perfection, and it was the Van Daminator.
 
Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn and Eddie Guerrero jumped from the sinking boat that is WCW to the luxury cruise liner that is the WWF. While Benoit and Guerrero have had great success, Ssaturn and Malenko have found it tough going. I really hope that they get something going soon. Perhaps re-forming The Radicals, as a sort of WWF version of The Four Horseman, is just what they need.
 
On a related subject, Kevin Sullivan showed that he couldn't run an orgy in a brothel by running WCW further into the ground.
 
The Undertaker returned as the American Bad Ass. Having seen this new incarnation in action, I was not really impressed. But was it conincidence that he started using his top rope walk again just a couple of weeks after I wrote about how we don't see it any more?
 
Yours truly got a copy of the Zeus e-fed program (thanks Jordan) and began tinkering with his own fed, casting myself in the Vince McMahon role. At the moment, the United Kingdom Wrestling Alliance is still going. Tazz is my world champion, The Undertaker my British champion, and The Hardys have just regained the tag-titles from the Dark Angels, Vampiro and Gangrel.
 
Yokozuna, aka Rodney Anoai, died in a hotel room in Liverpool. One question about his death must be answered - if Yoko wasn't considered fit enough to wrestle in America, why the hell was he considered fit enough to wrestle in Britain?
 
The lawsuit surrounding Owen Hart's tragic death was settled. It's a shame to see what these events have done to this fine wrestling family.
 
Bravo started to show WCW Nitro, and I began to watch WCW regularly again. I can only name a few wrestlers I enjoy watching on Nitro - Vampiro, Mike Awesome, Lance Storm, and perhaps Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner and Crowbar.Davey Boy Smith's life went from bad to worse. As a long-time fan of this British Bulldog, I really hope he gets his life  back in order really soon. Same goes for Scott Hall.
 
And speaking of British wrestler, William (formerly Steven) Regal returned, looking fitter, better, with a new gimmick. I a fast becoming a fan.
 
Triple H and The Rock both showed that they could carry the burden while Austin was on the shelf, and could stay the pace even when Austin returned. Rikishi was named as the man who ran down Austin, surprising everyone. The best thing he did was kicking the asses of Too Fools.
 
ECW stalwarts Raven and Tazz made their way to McMahon-land. They've tinkered with Tazz's gimmick too much, although he did throw a couple of suplexes recently. The jury is still out on Raven.
 
Chyna posed nude for Playboy. So?
 
Vince McMahon opens negotiations to buy WCW, thereby causing many WCW employees to invest in large amounts of toilet paper. My view? Well. to be honest, I don't really have one at the moment. I'd rather wait and see.
 
Both Mick Foley and The Rock released their life stories. I would have to say that by far, Foley's book was much better. After all, he has wrestled for countless companies all over the world. The Rock has only really wrestled for the WWF (yes, I do know he wrestled for the USWA, but they were only really a feeder outfit then.)

There is much more that I could write about, but sadly, my limited TV e-mail system only allows me to write documents of 1600 words in length. Perhaps I will follow this up with a similar article when I get back from Belgium.

Before I go, I'd like to thank everyone who has given me feedback on my work in the past year, both good and bad. And to all you Yanks - have a happy Thanksgiving. See you after the Survivor Series.  

Random Ramblings November 2000

Welcome to this small instalment of TSR. I'm doing this one now because I'm working on a couple of articles for the various people I write for which are taking longer than expected, so I may not be able to send one out on my usual day.Firstly, a couple of messages - a big thankyou to everyone who wrote to me about my Vampiro piece. I seem to be developing a catchphrase when I say I welcome all feedback - good and bad. Also, please send all the feedback to my email address, and not to the editors. You'll get a personal reply a bit quicker that way.

I must say though that the latest statement from Vampiro regarding his career is very good, and I am extremely pleased that he may, one day, once he is fully recovered, return to the ring. Good luck to you (does anyone know if Vampiro reads this.)

Before I go on - to the editor of Ringside Wrestling News - can you get back in touch with me about your offer - sorry, but I lost your email address.

Now, my brief statement - this will probably mean nothing to fans in the US or Canada, but I know of a way that the WWF could have gotten some good publicity here in Britain. With the UK only PPV, Rebellion, taking place this Saturday, the WWF could have gained some good publicity on mainstream television over here - how? I am a big fan of the comedy/sports quiz They Think It's All Over. I have watched this since the beginning. This show is the dogs bollocks, and is, in my opinion, one of the best shows the BBC has put out in the past few years.

The WWF could have had some good publicity by gettting none other than The Rock onto this show. They could have done this last year as well, in my opinion, but after seeing highlights of his stint on Saturday Night Live, I believe that The Rock would have been perfect for this show. After all, he was mentioned on last week's show.

My idea would have been to put him on David Gower's team, mainly to hear Jonathon Ross say his name. Sure, host Nick Hancock and panellists Ross and Rory McGrath would have played a few jokes off him, but the People's champ could have handled this. But as The Rock won't be arriving until Saturday morning, this probably won't happen, unless they haven't taped this week's show and someone from Auntie Beeb is reading this and phoning Vince McMahon as we speak.

The other idea I had last year is obviously a non-starter now - The Big Show on the Feel The Sportsman segment. It would have been fun to see Rory and Gary Lineker blindfolded and fumbling round this man mountain. Then again, perhaps this idea isn't totally dead - how would Rory and Gary react when blindfolded and confronted by Chyna?
 
Anyway, like I said, this is all mute, because when was the last time a millionaire like Vince McMahon listened to a garden centre worker from a small English seaside town? Hey, this was a bit longer than I expected! Anyway, I'm off to work on a few other things. I'll warn you all now, at least ONE, and maybe more, of my fellow DSD writers may be offended by my column in the coming weeks.

And finally, the first annual TSR awards will be taking place in a few weeks. Full coverage of the ceremony, hosted by yours truly, from the Anglia Court Hotel in Cromer will appear here in one, or possibly two parts. Keep the feedback coming folks. 

Until next time.....   

What The Frell Is Going On In WCW?
With the news that Vampiro, in my opinion one of the few credible pieces of talent in WCW, has had to retire because of injuries sustained in the ring, I find myself asking a certain question again - WHAT THE FRELL IS GOING ON IN WCW?This is the second time in less than a year that a wrestler working for WCW has sustained this sort of injury, and has had to retired as a result. Granted, the Bret Hart situation is a little different. Many thought that he was near the end of his career anyway.

But the Vampiro situation does bring up this question again. What the hell were the WCW bookers doing making Vampiro wrestle when he was clearly in no fit state to do so? Vampiro was in the prime of his career, and he was actually one of the few men I enjoyed watching on WCW programming. We in the UK didn't see the best bits of his feud with Sting, but from what I've read, and from what I've been told, it was a classic.

So what's happened now? Goldberg went in with a stiff kick on Bret Hart, ending his career. Was he disciplined in any way? What do you think? Should Mike Awesome be reprimanded for his stiff work on Vampiro? No, because this is not entirely his fault. Vampiro has been cut down in the prime of his career not by a wrestler, but by a bunch of bookers who couldn't run a sex show in a brothel. The effects of Vampiro's injuries will be with him for the rest of his life, while those who made him wrestle will still go about their daily business.

This is just another example of the glowing differences between WCW and the WWF. Can anyone answer the following questions - when was the last time you heard of something like this happening in the WWF? When was the last time you heard of locker room disunity in the WWF? When was the last time a WWF wrestler went public and said that they were really annoyed with the WWF behind the scenes staff? Answers on an email to the above address.

So what will Vampiro do next? There's rumours of a music career. Will, or should he, sue WCW? That's something for him to decide. It's just lucky he got out when he did, otherwise I could have been writing another column about a deceased wrestler, and that's something I don't want to do anytime soon.

Vampiro, I didn't watch you for long, but what I saw I liked. You earned my respect, and I'm sure the respect of many others. Good luck with whatever you do with the rest of your life. Best wishes, and may your gods go with you. 

Until next time..... 

Wrestling E-Zine Review
Welcome to this edition of TSR. This week, I'm not going to comment on the goings on of the wrestling world. I thought I would do something a little different. This edition I will concentrate on some of the many e-mail newsletters, and reviewing their recent output.

As many of you know, I write for a few newsletters, and it was my original intention not to include the review of this newsletter in this article. However, I thought that to be totally fair, I would include all the reviews, and not leave anything out. I'm sure that all of my editors, like me, welcome all forms of feedback.
 
Before I start, I would just like to say that I have in no way been asked by the editors of the following newsletters or any of their staff to write the following comments about their newsletters. Also, I have not included the e-mail addresses for the newsletters. However, if you are taking my reviews to heart, and want to subscribe to any of the newsletters I have reviewed, I would be more than happy to send anyone subscription information if they e-mail me. So here goes.....

ESSENTIAL WRESTLING NEWS - Quite a good newsletter, although it does seem to be a little elitist. Everything seems to be something-or-other@e... But hey, I'm probably only saying that because they never returned my e-mails about a possible writing job with them. Damn good Q&A spot though. 7/10

PRO WRESTLING CHRONICLE - Unlike other newsletters this has an excellent results service from al over the US and Japan (sadly no results from Britain though). However, in my opinion, PWC is let down by it's news only format. It could do with a column or two, even if it's only once or twice a week. 7/10

2EXTREME NEWSLETTER - An ECW dedicated newsletter which has great potential, as does it's editor and head writer. However, he brings far too much of his personal life into things. For instance, he dedicated a whole issue not long ago to his break-up with his girlfriend. If he can cut out the majority of this stuff, this could be a damn good newsletter. 4/10

JANDE NEWSLETTER - I began to lose interest in this publication long ago. One minute it's ceasing publication, the next it isn't. It goes ages without an issue, and then we get one with the editors wanting you to join a personal crusade of theirs. Very little wrestling news, very few columns, very few issues lately. Not much to write home about. 4/10

THE CHOKESLAM NEWSLETTER - I'm not going to be biased here, even though I write for TCN. Out of the ones I've reviewed here, this is probably the best. The majority of the writers are damn good. The news section, and the new Q&A are also very good. 8/10
 
DAILY SMACKDOWN - Even though I write for DSD, I must admit things have been rather lacklustre as of late, and when the editor admits that he is losing interest in wrestling, and in doing the newsletter, you know that something is wrong. The news section and articles are mostly good, but it could do with some really fresh ideas. 6/10
 
THE 3:16 REPORT - A friend put me onto this one, because he thought my work might make a good addition to this newsletter. Not a bad effort, but editions have been a bit sparse as of late. The jury is still hung on this one, because I haven't been a subscriber that long. 6/10
 
WWF: THE INSIDE SOURCE NEWSLETTER - Jack Hensley's shameles self-promotion finally got to me, and I decided to give his newsletter a look see. I've only seen a few issues, but I liked what I saw. Jack and his boys know their stuff, and I hope to see a lot more from these WWF fans. The only reason for the score is because I haven't seen many issues. 6/10

WWF: THE MOONSAULT NEWSLETTER - I'm going to be utterly brutal here. This is a piece of utter crap. Why? Because this newsletter is nothing but a rip-off. The editor's most recent effort was to take an edition of Jack Hensley's newsletter, change a few names and a couple of other things, and pass it off as his own. This, in my humble opinion, is nothing but a load of steaming monkey crap. If he "editor" can't be bothered to put out an original newsletter then he shouldn't be in this business. The fact that he didn't even credit any of Jack's work is, to quote a couple of Canadians, totally heinous. If anyone emails me wanting this subscription address, then forget it. You'll be wasting your time with this piece of shit. 1/10 - and this is being generous.
 
There are two more newsletters I would have liked to review here - Ringside Wresling News, who wanted me to join their staf, and the Starman Wrestling Newsletter, whose subscription list I have recently joined, but sadly, I haven't received a single issue yet. If the editor of Ringside is reading this, then please get in touch with me regarding your offer. I'm sure you're a busy man but my patience is wearing a little thin.
 
Well, I'm pretty sure that many of you editors are pleased with what I said about your newsletters, and I'm also pretty sure that some of you are offended by what I said. As I always say, I welcome all feedback, good and bad.And don't forget the TSR awards are fast approaching. Yours truly will be giving the first annual Two Sheds no prizes to the best wrestler, tag-team, match and feud of the year, as well as honouring some of the internet crowd, with awards for best writer, newsletter, as well as awards going to the worst writer, worst newsletter and worst informed fan. So keep a look out around Christmas for these wonderful awards. 

Until next time.   

I Am Old School
Yours truly discovered something out about himself this past week, and I would like to announce it to the whole world.  Yes, I, Julian Radbourne, at the tender age of 29, am most definately, OLD SCHOOL.  How did I find this out? Are we sitting comfortably, then I will begin.  

After Armageddon last week, I began to read the many reviews. These ranged from crap to brilliant. My opinion - it wasn't that bad.  I began to read the reviews of some of the matches. So this column doesn't go on too long, I'm only going to concentrate on three matches.  

One reader wrote that William Regal didn't deserve to be in the WWF, because he was boring and his wrestling style sucked.  Chris Benoit (of whom more anon) often reminds us that this is the World Wrestling Federation. William Regal is probably the best British-born wrestler currently doing the rounds, and right up there with Benoit and Malenko as far as technical skill is concerned.  As for him not belonging to the WWF? Give this man a chance! Regal's style may not exactly match the punch and kick or power style we seem to see a great deal of these days, but after a couple of years of hard times, he deserves his chance, and while I don't think he'll make it to main event status, I'm sure there's an IC title run in him. And besides, he's British after all!  

Next, to the IC title match. The same reader said that this match was also boring, that it lacked high-flying/cool moves.  While it was obvious that Benoit was carrying "The None" Billy Gunn throughout this match, Benoit put on another excellant display of technical skill, to, against my prediction, come out on top.  Although I have to admit that, after his push earlier this year, Benoit as IC champ doesn't seem quite right.  Now this is where I came to the conclusion that I am definitely one of the old school brigade. If I recall, the in-house fan reaction to these two matches was slightly muted. These were good contests.  

Now onto the match that everyone seems to be talking about, and its finish.  The Hell In A Cell match, for me, exceeded all expectations and it is now a front runner for the TSR "Match of the Year" award. I had my doubts about this match, and in our group discussion here last week, I offered no prediction, even though in the back of my mind, I knew Kurt Angle would win.  But it seems that everyone is saying that this match had a poor finish. I disagree.
 
Kurt Angle is, after all, a heel champion, and he won in a typical heel way - get/let someone else kick the crap out your opponent, and then get the pin and the glory yourself.  As I write this, two other WWF title matches in the early 90's, Warrior v Slaughter at the '91 Rumble and Flair v Savage just after Summerslam '92, come to mind. In both matches, new heel champions were crowned after heavy outside interference.  Kurt is doing what every other heel champion has done over the past few decades - taken a short cut to win.
 
While discussing this with my TSR Awards host, The Professor, he said that the reason I probably like wrestlers like Benoit, Malenko, Regal, and to a lesser extent, Angle and Jericho, is because I was brought up on a stable diet of Saturday afternoon, technically sound British wrestling.  Don't get me wrong. I'm not entirely old school. Austin is one of my all time favourites, and this year I became a keen fan of the Dudleys.  By the way, where can I became an honorary Dudley? We've had Big Dick and Sign Guy Dudley, why not Short Ass Dudley? Wait, that's been done already.
 
Where was I? Not being entirely old school. Well, as far as women's wrestling is concerned, I much prefer the eye candy we see today than what we saw about 15 years ago. British fans must remember Klondike Kate, an ugly, enormous mountain of a woman who could probably crush Lita between her thumbs. (Please don't tell her I insulted her because she's bigger than me!)
 
So, as far as my leanings are concerned, I would have to say I'm probably about 80% old school. While I enjoy seeing a good brawl or hardcore style match, I still prefer to see a great technical match, even if it is met with silence.
 
And now a few personal messages.....  A special thanks to Luis Tirado Jr., editor of the 2 Extreme Newsletter, who gave me some favourable feedback about my newsletter review column. In the next week or so, a special Two (Extreme) Sheds Review, one-off column will be appearing in his newsletter. Thanks again LTJ.
 
And a thank you to Nico (or Niko, I can't remember how you spelled it.) Your offer to write for your ECW website was most appreciated. Sorry I couldn't take you up on it.  

Finally, don't forget that the TSR awards, from the Anglia Court Hotel here in Cromer, sponsored by The Mads Timm Appreciation Society, and hosted by The Professor, will be coming your way around Christmas time.  Hope you enjoyed
this little installment from an old school point of view.  

Until next time... 

The 2 Extreme Sheds Review
Greetings to all ECW fans! A lot of you are probably thinking - what the hell is this fella doing here? Well, as a special one-off, and as a special thanks to LTJ for his kind words regarding my work, T(E)SR has come here to justECW land.Firstly I would like to thank those who spoke about my review in these pages. Thanks for the mention fellas! In this one-off, I thought I would write about why I like ECW, what I don't like, and all that.

You see, although I watch WCW, over the past few years, in my opinion, they have really messed up. They've lost a ton of their top stars because of their booking practices, and have cost two of their top stars careers because of this. When I heard that WCW was having money troubles, I put on my Nelson Muntz hat and cried HA HA! Yet when I hear ECW was having money troubles, I feared for the worst.

ECW has achieved a great deal in their short life. ECW fans are by far the most passionate fans I have ever seen, and it seems that these days, ECW outdraws WCW. We all remember when just 200 fans turned up for Nitro a few weeks ago, don't we? Just watching that Nitro was painful! It was so quiet it looked like a funeral would break out any minute!Then there is the talent. Just look at the current WWF television talent. In my rough estimation about a third, perhaps even half, of their current talent worked for ECW at one time. Many of them could probably be considered ECW hall of famers, if such an institution ever came about.

Now look at WCW. Think of the ECW stars who went down to Atlanta in the past. How many of them were really, really successful? And doesn't it say something about ECW when two of the few WCW stars I currently rate are Lance Storm and Mike Awesome, even if I do think that the Team Canada and 70's guy thing are really crap.

But the current ECW stars really impress me. It's not surprising that the WWF seem interested in a few of them. Take Yoshihiro Tajiri for instance. In the past few years, I have seen many Japanese stars wrestle in America, but none of them seemed as over as Tajiri, not even the Great Muta in his prime. This really takes some doing. Doring and Roadkill are a really great team. PWI described them as being like the Hart Foundation in their prime. Maybe not yet, but time will tell. Kid Kash, Super Crazy and Rhino really impress me as well. CW Anderson seems to be a really tough SOB. Steve Corino, Jerry Lynn and Justin Credible are/were all worthy to wear the ECW World Championship. Great athletes. Great matches. Tommy Dreamer not only has the respect of the ECW locker room, but of other locker rooms as well. I'm not surprised that other companies not only want to take him on as a wrestler, but as a booker as well. And what about old Sandman? Sadly misused by WCW, but back where he belongs! Have a Bud on me! And now the best of the bunch! Rob Van Dam is, in my opinion, the best ECW has right now. While Kurt Angle is described as the most gifted real athlete, and Billy Gunn the best natural athlete, RVD is without a doubt the best all round wrestler. He has it all - power, speed, technical ability, agility. It does strike me as odd, though, that he has never been ECW champion. But hey, if he can sort out whatever problems he has with Paul Heyman, maybe someday soon! And a quick word about Dawn Marie and Francine! HUBBA HUBBA!

And let's not forget the rest of the talent. Too many to mention here, but still a great bunch! Kudos to Paul Heyman as well. The man who was merely an annoying idiot in WCW ten years ago has turned out to be a man of vision. I hope he sorts out the business problems soon. And finally, to Joey Styles and Joel Gertner! In Styles, perhaps good 'ol JR has some competition! Well, you can't count Fat Tony here, can you? And the studmuffin? Keep on studding!

Before I wrap things up, I would like to say that I hope ECW achieves two things in the near future. 1) They get a real good TV contract in the US. Without national exposure, I fear for the worst. 2) They get a real good TV contract in the UK. Bravo may have been the only channel here to expose us to ECW, but they are really f##ing up. We are now some TWO MONTHS BEHIND, the show is heavily edited, and we don't get the pay-per-views. The only current ECW news we get over here is from newsletters like this one! If Bravo isn't going to give us what we want, perhaps some other cable or satellite channel can!

Well, that's my view. As always, I welcome your feedback. If you can, please send your feedback to me. I will try to send a personal reply. TSR QUOTE - "Keep up the good work, LTJ! You have talent my friend!" 

Until next time....