Monday, 31 December 2001

The Two Sheds Review Archives - 2001

Random Ramblings January 2001 Part 1

A lot has gone on since my last regular column, before my awards thing, so I'm going to talk about a few things here.

This whole Lita/Malenko thing could be played a little better, and it could re-elevate the WWF Light-Heavyweight title again. Think of this  possibility - Jeff wrestles Malenko and wins thetitle. Uncle Vince orders a number 1 contenders match for the title - between Matt and Malenko. Matt wins after Lita interferes, setting up a title bout at the Rumble. Matt and Jeff begin to argue quite a bit, causing them to lose a couple of tag matches. This infuriates Lita. Meanwhile, Malenko badgers the powers that be into making the Rumble match a
threeway dance. Malenko wins - with Lita's help. Lita dumps the Hardys and joins with Malenko.


Or how about this for a booking idea - in ECW, tag-champs Danny Doring and Roadkill, having wiped out all competition, demand better challengers. Paul Heyman promises top notch opponentsfor Guilty as Charged. The PPV comes around, and the opponents are none otherthan THE DUDLEYS. A hard fought match leads to a double count-out or something.

Straight after, the Dudleys win WWF gold, and dominate everyone. At the Rumble, Edge and Christian, their opponents, are attacked and fail to show for their match. Their replacements - Doring and Roadkill. This sets up another great match, again ending in a countout, or DQ.

This would serve two purposes, one - it would make for a good inter-promotion storyline. Two - it could get ECW the national exposure they need right now.

And now onto other things.....

Welcome to DSD land Junkpile and Graysox - as recommended by Two Sheds.

Is anyone apart from me pissed off with the way Bravo is treating ECW programming?

And speaking of Bravo, is it me or are they chopping Nitro again?

The Fast Show - the end of an era.

I see Nobohiku Takada is facing Ken Shamrock in a tag-match at the Osaka Dome in Japan tomorrow night. I remember seeing Takada on the old Bushido shows on Sky and Bravo, and after becoming a fan, thinking that Takada v Shamrock would make a great match-up.
Although unlikely, I would love to see a tape of tomorrow night's match.

While I'm on the subject - how about Takada v Benoit?

I've also been watching some of the World's Strongest Man programs on the BBC over Christmas. It was while watching this that I began to see where Mark Henry's problems in the WWF where. Henry was built for strength, and not really for speed and stamina.Hopefully his time in Ohio will help him out.

I also began to wonder if any of those big fellas would make it in thewrestling world. Apart from one German fella, whose name I forget right now, I didn't see any. Little Rey Rey would have those guys puffing in no time.

The Rock as Henry McCoy in the X-Men? No way! First we get Lash Le Roux as Gambit, now old DJ as our favourite, blue-furred scientist? As a longtime X-Men fan, I must protest!

Mick Foley making a comeback against Vinny Mac at WM17? Why am I having my doubts about this?

Princess Steph getting doused in Bud? Well, if old Stone Cold had been using Belgian beer, then I would have been on the phone calling my local MP!

I really hope ECW gets their problems sorted out in 2001.

Same goes for WCW. I may not like much of what they do, but hey, the WWF needs competition.

Well, I can't really think of much else to say.

Special thanks to Jerry, LA, David, Michael, Adam, Jack Hensley, Graysox, Basil Richards, Laura Francis, James Gallagher, Jordan Allsworth, Dave and Steve Green, Luis Tirado Jnr, to all of my family, and even to James Ellis, Mike Aldren, Sara McNeil and Kevin.

To everyone in the world.....HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Random Ramblings January 2001 Part 2

Well, I made it to the 21st century. Everyone kept telling me that the real 21st century would begin on 1/1/2001. So how do I feel about being in a different century? Well, having watched science fiction films from an early age, years ago, I would have expected to be dressed all in silver at this time, instead of a pair of blue jeans and a new white sweater. Oh well!

So this is the first TSR of 21C. Not much has changed here. So what am I going to talk about today? There's a few thankyous and heys I'd like to get out of the way. Hey and thanks to Jordan Allsworth, for voting me his Column of the Year. I gratefully accept this award. Thanks buddy! Hey to Crusher! Thanks for the email with regards to what I said about the World's Strongest Man Competition, and Mark Henry. For anyone who cares, Crusher is an old friend of multiple-time World's Strongest Man winner and former WCW star Bill Kazmaier! And Graysox! How you doing? Thanks for the email! Nice to know that someone likes what I do! I would send you the proverbial bunch of flowers, but the garden centre is closed for the holidays at the moment! Will a box of chocolates do? And finally to Basil Richards, who thinks I should get paid for doing this. I admit now it would be nice to earn a living doing this stuff. I did apply for two advertising jobs, but sadly, my talents were not good enough!

And now onto other things..... You may recall in my last column I said I would be doing a feature reviewing fanzines in the future. Sadly, no replies yet (sniff, sniff). Anyway, I thought I'd lay a few ground rules if anyone would like their fanzines included in a future TSR. 1) If you would like me to review your fanzine, please email me at twosheds316@talk21.com. Please put in the subject box TSR FANZINE REVIEW. I'll then send you information on where to send the fanzine. 2) Please make sure your fanzine is sent to me by 28/2/2001. I know this is a long time from now, but this would give fanzine editors from outside the UK the chance to send their work to me. 3) I'm looking to have the article finished (should I get enough responses) by the end of March. However, if due to unforseen circumstances, you have decided to stop doing your fanzine between the time you send it to me and the publication of the article,  please let me know. 4) If you are unwilling to get any form of negative feedback regarding your work, then please don't reply. I hope that I do get some response from this idea. I promise to be totally unbiased and impartial. I'll be using the usual marks out of ten scoring system. And remember folks - you'll be getting free publicity!

Now onto other things..... Does anyone know the result of the tag-match pitting Ken Shamrock against Nobohiku Takada in Japan on New Year's Eve?

I finally managed to see Beyond The Mat last weekend. A damn good film. I enjoyed the bits with the WWF and WCW, but I must say that I was saddened to see what Jakes Roberts has become now. I'm not ashamed to say that he is one of my all-time favourites. So why is it when I saw Jake I immediatley thought of Scott Hall and Davey Boy Smith?Is it true? Is Eric Bischoff now the proud(?) owner of WCW? If so, what do we have to look forward to? The NWO re-forming for the 764th time, and Hogan v Savage Part 982. Hey, these two will probably still be feuding in the retirement home.

And speaking of Hogan. If he does go back to the WWF in March, here's a booking idea - Hogan comes out on Raw, saying he wants one last WWF match at Wrestlemania. Austin comes out and challenges him. So how about Hogan v Austin at WM17? Or Hogan versus whoever the champ is by then? Hogan v Rock? Hogan v Angle? I don't care who, just as long as Hogan remembers that good old Eric isn't watching his back anymore, and can't expect full creative control. And as long as he isn't facing Savage. Or how about Hogan v HBK? A wild shot here.

Why is it when I see the Angle family, I get the urge to do a Homer Simpson and shout NERDS!

Isn't it annoying when you send someone an email and they don't reply.? Especially when you invite them out for a coffee or something! And isn't it annoying when the man in the pet shop sells you two rabbits, claiming that both are male, when one isn't, and a few months later, low and behold, you've got a few more rabbits?

To be honest, I really can't think of anything else to talk about. I knew when I started to talk about my rabbits that it was time to end this column. But before I go, I thought I would run a little quiz. Normally, when I end a column, I say "until next time", but this is getting a little stale, a little old hat. So I thought I'd try something different, and run a little quiz while doing so. (Sorry, Basil, you've already seen this, so you're DQed.) The following farewell is taken from a old ITV lunchtime show from the 1970's. I will give a TSR Award to the first person who tells me the name of the show it came from, and the name of the person who said it. Here goes..... I'LL SEE THEE!
 

Random Ramblings January 2001 Part 3

Welcome to the latest instalmet of TSR. I hope everyone is fine. Well, the long Christmas break I am being forced to endure will end this coming Sunday, as I return to the mind-numbing, energy sapping talent wasting job of mine! Oh well, I have to get my money somewhere I suppose!

Anyway, this week, a wave of nostalga has swept over me. This is because of three things.
 
The first - Channel 4 showing the 100 Greatest Number One Singles, as voted by the British public. Although I didn't actually vote, we Brits got it right by putting (in reverse order) Hey Jude by the Beatles, Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, and Imagine by John Lennon at the top spot. Three great songs, and a tragedy that two of the greatest performers of all time, John Lennon and Freddie Mercury, are no longer with us.
 
The second - seeing the first episode of Hill Street Blues again. Stephen Bochco is a genius. Perhaps WCW should try using his talents.

The third - Sky Sports, in their infinate wisdom, have jumped forward a few years in their Wrestling Classics programmes. We are now seeing action from 1986, and by my guess, just after Wrestlemania 2. It brought back memories seeing the likes of The Bulldogs, Jake the Snake and the Macho Man in their prime.

It was around about this time, if I recall correctly, that ITV tried out WWF shows in their wrestling slot. World of Sport had just finished, and to suppliment the usual wrestling from York Town Hall, they treated us to the occassional Saturday Night's Main Event. My memories of this peroid may be clouded a little, but I seem to recall that this idea went down like a led balloon.

It may have been that ITV didn't really know how to handle the WWF product. Most likely, it was probably because pro wrestling was on the decline in Britain anyway. Many were annoyed that they tried to make the British product like the American product. They even tried to give us our own Hulk Hogan, in the form of a fat bloke named Shirley. But as the great Jackie Pallo said, the problem here was that, in Big Daddy, they chose a man who was ten years older than Hogan.

Needless to say, like Hogan, I didn't care for old Big D. My favourite at the time was Kendo Nagasaki, perhaps the greatest heel British wrestling had ever seen. In his prime, he would have been perfect for the WWF.Seeing this old show also made me think about how far some have fallen since 1986. Jake Roberts was at his best. His interplay with Savage was classic stuff. But I couldn't help but think of what he's become now.And then there was the Bulldogs. Dynamite Kid now confined to a wheelchair, and Davey Boy with enough family problems to keep Jerry Springer occupied for a whole season. It also reminded me of the Jeff Jarrett/Debra thing a couple of years ago - with Savage cutting a promo asking the fans not to cheer for Elizabeth, but to cheer for him instead. And it was also the time of the now-classic Hogan/Orndorff feud. Enough said about that.

In essence, I really recommend that all wrestling fans tune into the Wrestling Classics show, on Sky Sports on Mondays. I know that there are a lot of younger fans out there. I really think that you should watch this. It may seem quite tame to some of the stuff we see in ECW now, but without them, without Vince McMahon putting together an improved product, I wouldn't be here writing this now, and you probably wouldn't be reading this.

And now onto other things. Guilty as Charged - and two more ECW World Champions are crowned. I know ECW are having a few problems at the moment, but at the last three PPVs, the world title has changed hands. Could it be that, like Vince Russo before him, Paul Heyman considers the world title as just a prop?Being given the world title should mean something. It should mean that you are considered the best man in the company - for a few weeks, or in ECW's case, a few seconds. World title's should mean something. I remember reading the other day that WCW had 21 world title changes last year. 21! Looks like the WCW writers ran out of body
parts to count on.At least the WWF is sensible in this case. I'd like to see Kurt Angle retain the title right up until Wrestlemania, but I doubt if this would happen.
 
News has also reached me that Ken Shamrock could be back by the end of February. Would now be a good time to petition for a Shamrock v Benoit submission match for Wrestlemania? Come on Vince! Give us old school fans what we want!
 
Now I'm going to talk about THAT disrobing from Raw last week. All I will say is this - at least one McMahon sibling is willing to walk around the ring without a shirt on, and I'm glad it wasn't Shane.

A hello to Graysox there, and thanks for the mention. Adam Honey will be pleased you mentioned his website. Hopefully this column will be there soon as well.
 
Don't forget, the upcoming fanzine review. Sadly, I've had no replies yet. Someone told me that this is because people seem to concentrate more on email newsletters this day. I really hope this isn't so.
 
And sadly, only one reply to my little competition - to guess who I stole the fairwell from. And then you didn't even leave a name! So I'll put you out of yor misery. I'LL SEE THEE was said by legendary Yorkshire and England cricket legend Fred Trueman, when he presented the indoor sports lunchtime programme Indoor League on ITV. It was brilliantly parodied by Frank Skinner and David Baddiel a couple of years back on Fantasy Football.
 
And now, an announcement. Coming soon to the Two Sheds Review will be an exclusive column by none other than the host of the TSR Awards, THE PROFESSOR. Yes, you heard me. The Professor is an actual person. It's not an alter ego of yours truly. The Professor actually exists. He will be presenting his views on the current wrestling world, which should provide interesting reading because he isn't actually a wrestling fan. To show that he actually exists, I will also be giving his email address in the article, so you'll be able to give him some feedback on his views. Anyway, I've got to go now. To quote the great Hank Kingsley (The Larry Sanders Show, weeknights 11pm, PlayUK), "Hey now!" 

Random Ramblings January 2001 Part 4

Normal service has been resumed as I have returned with my usual column. Thanks to The Professor for his guest spot. Please remember that if you want to give him any feedback about his guest appearance in TSR, please email him on professor417@t...

Anyway, back to business. I did say that I would continue with the nostalgia theme, which I started last week, but I'm going to hold off on that for a while. I'd like to discuss a few other things. The WCW sale - there, I mentioned it.WCW Sin - well, I've seen the reports on Sid's nasty injury. Not to pleasant by all accounts. Although I haven't seen the footage yet, which is due to be shown on Nitro, it's not that nice. Descriptions of the injury reminded me of two similar injuries I saw in football (or soccer) matches over the past few years. Many football fans will recall Coventry's David Busst, and his horrific leg injury which cost him his career. It was so bad they wouldn't show it on television. And I've also seen the pictures of his leg after the countless operation. Not a pretty sight. Last I heard, the poor sod still walks with a limp. And Celtic's Henrik Larrson, when he broke his leg not long ago. Thankfully, he's now back to full fitness. I
don't know if he'll see this, but I'd like to wish Sid all the best. Get well soon big man!
 
Still on Sin, Animal was the mystery man? Huh? I smell the work of Johnny Ace here. By all accounts, Sin was the best WCW PPV in a long while. The workers were obviously out to impress the new (old) boss.But reading this, I began to think why I enjoy the WWF far more than WCW. This may be true for many fans in Britain. Think of it this way - the WWF spends weeks and months building up their storylines, and we British fans get excited because we know we will see the pay-off, the end result, in the form of a pay-per-view, whether it be on Sky or Channel 4. We feel the excitement as we try to predict what will happen next, and who will win the ensuing grudge match.With WCW, we see the storylines build up in the weeks and months. We see the build up, the hype to the big grudge matches. And then, nothing. We don't see the big grudge match. We don't get the pay-per-views over here. All we get are stills shown on the next Nitro.
 
If WCW could get their big events shown over here, even if it is a few days delayed, WCW's fan base over here would increase greatly. The reason we don't see the big ones over here is probably this. Since satellite TV began over here a little over a decade ago, WCW (and NWA) have been seen on the following channels; Screensport (now closed), the old BSB sports channel (now closed), Sky Sports, various regions of the ITV network, TNT, and now, Channel 5 and Bravo. That's seven channels in about 11 years. Not good for business folks. In the same time, the WWF has been on Sky non-stop, Eurosport, when Sky owned a share, and now, Channel 4. Better business here.
 
Perhaps now with Uncle Eric back in charge, he and his new partners will make the effort and take into account British fans. After all, they do run WORLD Championship Wrestling.
 
And speaking of fans - onto ECW. I am saddened to hear what has happened here, not only for all the workers, but for the fans as well. Just seeing one of their shows made me realise that ECW fans are a passionate bunch, definitely more passionate than WCW fans. It's because of this that I'm starting to warm to the work of Luis Tirado Jr, and his 2Exteme Newsletter. He is definately one passionate ECW fans. But the passion of the fans alone, sadly, won't save ECW. Sound business dealings, and a television contract, giving them national exposure, is what they need. I seem to be thinking of Smokey Mountain, and the old AWA when I think of ECW. It's a shame one of the big boys can't help them out somehow. If ECW was to sign some sort of deal with either the WWF or WCW, and be allowed to retain complete creative control, ECW could retain it's identity and become some sort of affiliate, having a smaller role to OVW or MCW.But with the XFL, and WCW's recent sale, this isn't likely to happen. A shame really. 

And finally, while still on the subject of passion, I saw a recent programme on Channel 4 about the FWA, a British-based promotion. The passion of the people running the company impressed me but I found one thing very amusing, with regards to a statement about the new capital of British wrestling. Let me put it this way.

In the USA, there is Madison Square Garden in New York.
 
In Japan, there is the Osaka Dome and the Tokyo Dome.
 
In Britain, there is.......Portsmouth. No disrespect to Portsmouth, but....well, it's that old Olympics to Manchester thing again, isn't it. Well, that's two British places I probably won't be welcome in. Good job I was thinking of going to Dublin this summer! I'll see thee! 

Chyna's Book

Well everyone, it seems that stock in Two Sheds, Inc. is getting higher and higher all the time. After the disappointment of the Daily Smackdown fiasco, and the recent recruitment of yours truly to two other newsletters, I received two more offers this week. I won't say what they are, but all I will say is that they are under consideration.

Sadly, the other string I was hoping to add to my bow has broken. I had tried to get in touch with the editors of a new newsletter, The Sports Report, about writing a different column for them. The Sports Report is a general sports newsletter, mainly dedicated to American sports. They had said they were looking for new writers, so I put forward my name, offering to write about soccer, cricket, boxing, tennis, whatever! Sadly, no reply. A shame, really. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy writing about wrestling, but it would have been nice to take my writing career down other paths as well. C'est la vie!
 
Now, I have something I'd like all you people in Britain to read. I am basically going to ask you to part with your money! My good friend and work collegue Teresa Edwards, having lost all sense of sanity, is doing a sponsored abseil down the water-tower at RAF Coltishall in Norfolk in June. I promised her I would use my forum here to drum up some publicity for the event. It's all in a good cause, and all the money will be donated to the Royal National Institute for the Blind. If you would like more details, and to sponsor her, please email me and I will forward the messages to her. Even if you live outside Britain and would like to sponsor her, again, email me and I'll forward it to her. You're probably asking why I'm not doing this. The reason is simple! I'm a coward! As far as heights go, that is! I'm alright if I have a firm footing beneath me, but otherwise, no way!

Now, back to business. I had considered writing about the Triple H/Austin match next Sunday. But then I remembered that I'm taking part in a No Way Out special in Chokeslam later this week. If you want to see this, and you don't subscribe to Chokeslam, (unless you're seeing this piece in Chokeslam), send a blank email to thechokeslam-subscribe@topica.com.
 
So what will I write about now? I know! I'll make a confession! You see, when I first heard that Chyna was writing a book, I had no intention whatsoever to buy the book. I began to think of that scene in Friends, the one where they've all just been to see a movie. Monica, Rachel and Phoebe walk in and say things like "oh, that film was wonderful!" Chandler, Ross and Joey then enter and say "that film sucked! Total chick flick!" That's the feeling I had when I heard about Chyna's book.
 
The book came out over here last Monday, and I thought that instead of pre-judging, I'd try and read a couple of reviews. It's the same thing I do when I consider buying a new CD, or going to a movie (unless it has the name STAR TREK in the title.) So, I read the reviews. They all seemed to say the same thing about the book. Chyna, in her own words, says the following; moan, bitch, whinge, cry, moan, bitch, whinge. The review I saw in EWN was really scathing. The writer, whose name I can't recall, didn't have a nice word to say about it. At the same time almost every newsletter I subscribe to (except Megaslam) broke the Killer Kowalski story. Kowalski told of how he'd read the book, and labelled it total bullshit. He didn't have a nice thing to say about his former protege. He labelled her a lying b*tch.
 
Since then, all I've seen about Chyna and her book has all been negative. A couple of weeks ago on Raw and Smackdown they heavily hyped the book and her publicity work. They also played up to the injury angle again. This week, there didn't seem to be much hype. The old saying is that any publicity is good publicity. But I'm not sure about this one. Chyna is currently being portrayed as a whining, bitching, crying, back-stabbing, low down, well, you know what I mean. When she returns from her "injury", you have to wonder how the WWF creative department is going to handle her return, and more importantly, how the people who virtually pay her wages, the fans, are going to react. A little voice deep down is telling me that perhaps we won't see her around for a while. But another is telling me that perhaps the writers will somehow use this situation and turn Chyna from the muscle-bound, girl next door to the biggest b*tch on god's green earth. And perhaps the PWI feud of the year for 2001 will be Chyna v Killer Kowalski.
 
But here's another thought for you. The Kowalski thing is nothing more than a work, and that he and Chyna planned this all along just to get people to buy the book. Well, to be honest, it hasn't worked with me. Whereas orignally I hadn't intended to buy the book, I'll probably wait until it comes out in paperback. Or have a look around a few second hand book shops. After all, I saved £10 by getting Bill Goldberg's book in a second hand shop! Although this could mean one thing here - Goldberg's book is a load of crap as well! I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I'll let you know when I do!

In a final note, the XFL got a mention this weekened in the Daily Mirror newspaper. I have to admit I was impressed by the article. It seems that in the past, newspaper articles about anything to do with the WWF have been less than respectful. It might be because the XFL is considered "legitimate" sport. Anyway, I won't go into details, but the article was quite positive. It's a shame though, that we aren't seeing any of the action over here. ITV, BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5 probably won't touch the product, so the last hope is Sky. So, in the style of the save ECW campaign - I think I've got this address right - if you want to see the XFL on Sky, then I suggest emailing the television letters page on letters@bskyb.com. If this isn't right, then those with teletext please go to page 152 to get the proper address, if this one is wrong that is.
 
Well, that's me done for this week. Normally around this time on a Sunday night (10:50pm) I'd be settling down to watch
ECW on Bravo. Sadly, ECW has stopped here now as well. Oh well, you can't have everything!
  

Random Ramblings March 2001 Part 1 

Well, looks like the old crystal ball wasn't working, doesn't it? Looking back on the list I gave in my last column, I didn't list Paul Heyman as Jerry Lawler's replacement on Raw. Guess it had something to do with all those rumours about him joining the creative team. At least I wasn't the only one who got their predictions wrong though. Those rumours of an all-ECW stable rampaging through Raw were a bit wide of the mark.
 
To be honest, I think Paul did okay, considering he hasn't done commentating on a regular basis for years. Will he be around for the duration? Hard to say. The only way we can see if he has what it takes to step into The King's shoes is by waiting until April 1st. In my opinion, we'll be able to see who Vince McMahon is placing his faith in, when we see who gets the chair next to Jim Ross in Houston.
 
It's not surprising that the WWF haven't granted Lawler his full release yet. My prediction is they'll grant it on April 2nd. Why? How would Lawler appearing on WCW Nitro affect things just a few days before Wrestlemania? Little disappointed that I didn't get the call though from Titan Towers. Oh well! At least I've received other calls.This column should be appearing on three new websites shortly. I've said it before, but stock in Two Sheds, Inc is rising again. Okay, I'm not as omnipresent as Jerry yet, but who knows! And perhaps it will rise even furhter come the 24th.
 
Work on The Two Sheds Chronicles is proceeding with great pace. Some advertising is in place, I've got a couple of good writers on board, and possibly more on their way. TSC will give me the opportunity to publish some of the work I've done that does not fit in with a wrestling-only format. I'm also pleased with the number of subscribers I currently have, even though I haven't actually done much. I won't say how many I have, exactly, but it has tripled since this time last week.

Well, it seems like my old friend Graysox is causing quite a stir in Chokeslamland with her comments on No Way Out. Although I must disagree with her, because I thought NWO was very good, some of the comments from a certain Mr. Lung do beggar belief. Okay, I admit to not being the most PC of men, but Lung's views of women, and women wrestling fans should find a time machine and go back to the fifties where they belong.
 
And I know I'm going to sound a bit contradictory, given that Graysox never gives her real name, but as I told someone who insulted me via e-mail a few weeks ago, if you're going to insult someone, be a gentleman and at least introduce yourself properly! 

Over in 3:16 land things are progressing towards the big century. Yep, Adam and Jeremy are celebrating 100 issues. The 3:16 Report website is the first site my column appeared on, and I would like to publicly congratulate these fellas for the fine work they put in. Here's to the next 100! And I've finally made it back into print!
 
The latest edition of the Wrestling's Last Hope fanzine has just come out. A pity that many outside of the UK won't see my piece, but c'est la vie!
 
One thing I'm going to have to close down is the Chris Benoit v Ken Shamrock Wrestlemania match campaign. Still, if the rumours are true, I'm still going to get one great actual wrestling contest in Benoit v Angle.
 
And still on the subject, if Shawn Michaels isn't going to wrestle at WMX-7, wouldn't it be a great way to re- introduce him into the fold as a colour commentator?
 
Now, I missed the first hour of Raw, but here in Britain, instead of finishing at midnight, it finished at quarter two. This leads me to believe that something was cut out, and I have a feeling I know what! This totally contradicts Sky's policy towards their late-night wrestling programmes, saying that they will remain uncut.
 
Now, before I go, I would just like to reassure all of you that although the foot and mouth disease outbreak here in Britain is spreading, I do not live in a quarantine area, and the virus can't be contracted via the internet! Cheery bye!

Open Letter to WCW

Below is a letter which I sent to WCW via their website. As I don't really expect them to put it on their site, I am publishing it here. If you want to send an e-mail to WCW about their current situation, e-mail feedback@wcw.com

Well, I have to admit I am a little saddened by WCW's apparent demise, but to be honest with you all, I saw it coming a long time ago.

As an Internet wrestling writer, I have followed most aspects of the wrestling business for many years, and as far as I can see, WCW is going belly up because of many things. Not pushing the younger talent in years gone by, constantly pushing the over-the-hill guys like Hogan and Flair when they were obviously past it, and ruining great careers, like those of Bret Hart and Vampiro.

The lack of a constant and consistent booking team also did not help matters much. The constant title changes of last year, including the disastrous run as world champion of David Arquette made WCW a laughing stock in the Internet writing community.

It really does not surprise me that Ted Turner's stations have dropped WCW programming. The writers, although talented, do not plan for the long run, unlike their counterparts over at the WWF.

The exorbitant prices they also paid the ageing stars like Hogan and Savage were all fine and dandy, but when Hogan and Savage weren't doing anything, all you had were overpriced couch potatoes.

In my opinion, WCW never really recovered from the disastrous run of Kevin Sullivan as head booker, which in turn led to the loss of four of the greatest wrestlers ever in WCW history - Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko, along with the losses of Raven, Paul Wight, Chris Jericho and many more. Talent like this that was buried in Atlanta is now achieving great success in Stamford. A show that the WWF always has had the superior booking team and talent management.

I have a feeling this critique of all things WCW probably won't make it onto your website. That's why I am going to publish it in my own newsletter, and in the various web sites and newsletters I write for. That way someone will see it and probably have something to say about it.

Now that Vince McMahon has brought the WCW brand name, let's hope that he'll be able to do something with it. ECW may be dead and buried. Hopefully WCW will come back again.
 

WCW/Dead Parrot Sketch

Today, I have a world exclusive for you. Given the current state of WCW, I managed to get a transcript of a meeting between an executive from Time Warner, and an executive from Fusient Media. For their own safety, I will not be naming them. In the transcript, the Time Warner man will be known as TWM, and the Fusient Media man will be known as FMM. Here's the transcript.

FMM; Hello, I wish to register a complaint...Hello? Miss?
TWM; What do you mean, miss?
FMM; Oh, I'm sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint.
TWM; Sorry, we're closing for lunch.
FMM; Never mind that, my lad, I wish to complain about this wrestling promotion which I purchased not three months ago from this very multi-national corporation.
TWM; Oh yes, World Championship Wrestling. What's wrong with it?
FMM; I'll tell you what's wrong with it. It's dead, that's what's wrong with it.
TWM; No, no, it's on hiatus! Look!
FMM; On hiatus?
TWM; Yeah, remarkable promotion, WCW, great talent base!
FMM; The talent don't enter into it - it's stone dead.
TWM; No, no - it's just on hiatus.
FMM; All right then, if it's on hiatus, I'll try and get it on TV! (Picks up remote control and searches TNT and TBS for WCW programming.) Hello WCW! I've got some ageing WWF wrestler for you!
TWM; (Grabbing remote) There, on Turner South!
FMM: That's WCW classics!
TWM; No it isn't!
FMM; Yes it is! There's Sting in his prime!
TWM; No, no, it's Sting from last year!
FMM; Look, my lad, I've had just about enough of this. That wrestling promotion is definitely deceased. And when I bought it not three months ago you assured me that it's lack of ratings was due to the wrestlers being tired and shagged out after a long television taping.
TWM; It's probably pining for the nWo.
FMM; Pining for the nWo? What kind of talk is that? Look, why didn't the ratings pick up as soon as Raw moved to TNN?
TWM; WCW always does prefer lagging behind. Great talent though.
FMM; Look, I took the liberty of examining that promotion, and I discovered that the only reason that it had been going for so long was because it was part of a much larger multi-national corporation.
TWM; Well of course it was. Otherwise it would have been brought by Vince McMahon!
FMM: Look matey, Vince McMahon wouldn't be interested in WCW. It's bleeding demised.
TWM; It's not. It's pining.
FMM; It's not pining, it's passed on. This promotion is no more. It has ceased to be. It's lost it's contract and gone into TV oblivion.This is a late wrestling promotion. It's a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace.If you hadn't been ploughing millions into it, it would be pushing up the daisies! It's rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is a ex-wrestling promotion.
TWM; Well, I'd better replace it then.
FMM; If you want to get anything done in this country you've got to complain till you're blue in the mouth.
TWM; Sorry guv, we're right out of wrestling promotions.
FMM; I see. I see. I get the picture.
TWM; I've got the XFL.
FMM; Does it have high ratings?
TWM; Not really, no.
FMM; Well, it's scarcely a replacement, then is it?

#With thanks to Monty Python's Flying Circus "Just The Words Volume 1", published by Mandarin.
 

 Random Ramblings March 2001 Part 2

Well, I'm going to say it, so let's get it out of the way! ALL HAIL LSD! LSD RULES! No, before you ask, I'm not on some sixties drug trip.

You see, I was as pleased and surprised as everyone to hear that my favourite Dudley of all, Little Spike, had joined the ranks of the WWF. Since the first time I saw Spike, I've had a soft spot for him. It's probably because that Spike is roughly the same height and weight as me, and in a wrestling world seemingly dominated by men in excess of 200 pounds and standing over six feet tall, Spike seemed like a breath of fresh air.

In all probability, we will see a Big Show v Spike match sometime in the future. There is no doubt that this will happen. But in my opinion, Spike would make a great light-heavyweight champion. But given Jim Ross' recent comments about that division, that will never happen.

Seeing Spike compete on Smackdown was a sight to behold. As soon as he tagged into the match, the crowd seemed to go wild. And when Rhyno tagged in, apart from the larger crowd, it was like watching ECW all over again.

I don't know if this match has been announced yet, but wouldn't Spike v Rhyno at Wrestlemania be a great addition?

And as far as Wrestlemania goes, I am now starting to get a little exicited about things. All in all, it does seem a better card than last year. I've said it before, so I may as well say it again - last year's event was a big let down. I probably won't be watching this year's one live, due to work commitments, but I'll probably be watching it Monday night. So if you are expecting me to e-mail or telephone you next Monday, forget it.

Well, let's get to the point. Uncle Vince buys out Uncle Ted. Some people, Bret Hart and Chris Jericho among them, have expressed their concerns.

To be honest, I wasn't going to watch the last Nitro. I may give it a look now, at least the video of it anyway. I'd still rather watch Raw at the moment.

The list of names the WWF is taking on from WCW is rather intriguing though, in the fact that it doesn't include World Champion Scott Steiner or US Champion Booker T. I know this is early days, but this does seem odd.

I was also intrigued to see Shawn Stasiak's name on the list of those kept on. We all know what happened, the reasons he was fired from the WWF. It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall for his next meeting with Vince McMahon. But then again, I wouldn't have to be. I'm sure Shawn can supply me with a tape of the conversation.

But now that Uncle Vince is moving Nitro to TNN, we UK wrestling fans have to be wondering if we are still going to be able to see WCW in this country, and, for that matter, will we finally see WCW pay-per-views. Will Bravo still show Nitro, and still insist on putting it on the same time as Raw, therefore hurting their own ratings in the process.

I think that given the long-standing relationship between Sky and the WWF, all WCW-related programs will eventually end up on Sky.

So maybe I'll start a campaign here, for UK wrestling fans. If you want to see the WCW(WWF) shows on Sky, here's a couple of e-mail addresses for you.

Sky Teletext TV letters page; letters@bskyb.com
Sky Teletext WWF page; production@bskyb.com

As far as I know these e-mail addresses are correct. It would be interesting to hear what sort of response we get from Sky.

Finally, I would like to make a comment on WCW's web site, and in particular, their feedback section. They put up an address (feedback@wcw.com) asking fans to give their views on their situation, pre-WWF. Many of you probably saw the letter I sent in, which was published in The Chokeslam and my own newsletter. I won't say exactly what I said. All I will say is that I wasn't exactly complimentary.

I checked back over the next few days, and guess what? They didn't put it up. The only feedback they had on their pages were ones basically saying "ooh, we're so sad that WCW is closing down." There was not one e-mail offering any form of negative feedback.

To be honest, I wasn't surprised they didn't put my letter up. In their last days under Time Warner, they did what they always did - stuck their heads in the sand.
 

Wrestlemania Moments

Well, WMX-7 is upon us, so I thought I would get a bit nostalgic, and look back over the years to the Wrestlemanias I have seen.

WRESTLEMANIA V - They say that the first time is always the best, and I still have very fond memories of this, my first Wrestlemania. More than anything, it was watching this great event from The Trump Plaza in Atlantic City that got me hooked on pro wrestling, a long, 12 years ago.

We in Britain didn't see the event until June 30th, 1989, and originally, Sky cut out a few of the matches, the most memorable being Strike Force (Tito Santana and Rick Martel) versus The Brain Busters (Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard), so we didn't see Martel's heel turn.

The three matches I remember most were Ted DiBiase versus Brutus The Barber, IC Champion The Ultimate Warrior losing the title to the late Ravishing Rick Rude, and of course, The Mega-Powers exploding as WWF Champion Randy Savage lost to the all-American goofball, Hulk Hogan. To be fair, the Hogan/Savage match was very good. Hogan actually displayed some technical skill. Even then, early on in my WWF watching career, I didn't really take to Hogan.

WRESTLEMANIA VI - Coming from the Skydome in Toronto, this one proved to be better than the year before. Jake Roberts and Ted Dibiase put on a great contest, Andre The Giant turned face on his partner Haku after they dropped the tag titles to perhaps the most aptly named team in WWF history, Demolition, and the main event lived up to all the hype. It was Champion v Champion, Title for Title as IC Champion The Ultimate Warrior faced WWF Champion Hulk Hogan.

For a good example of the fans really getting into a match, get a tape of this one. 67,000 plus screamed their lungs out for what seemed an eternity. In a hard fought power v power match, the Warrior became a double-champ, capitalising after Hogan missed his patented leg-drop, and Warrior got in a big splash.

Hogan showed a touch of class by passing the torch, handing the Warrior the belt. Almost immediately fans began to ask about a re-match. Everyone thought it would come the following year at Wrestlemania VII, slated for the LA Colliseum. But world events would get in the way.

WRESTLEMANIA VII - With the Gulf War, Vince McMahon changed his original plans for the Hogan/Warrior re-match. The Warrior had dropped the title to American turn-coat Sgt. Slaughter at the Royal Rumble, and who better than the all-American hero Hulk Hogan to kick his ass. The original venue changed, for security purposes, from the Colliseum to the Sports Arena.

I was a little disppointed by the match. Slaughter didn't really seem right as champion, and you all know my feelings about Hogan.

Still, the undercard was good. The retirement match between Randy Savage and The Ultimate Warrior was a sight to behold, and WMVII also marked the first Wrestlemania appearance of The Undertaker, who would later win the WWF title from Hogan in that year's Survivor Series.

WRESTLEMANIA VIII - A return to a Dome in Indianapolis. Ric Flair had entered the WWF a few months earlier, and in my opinion, Vince McMahon made a big mistake by pitting Flair against Hogan straight away, instead of holding off until the big one.

Instead, we were treated to a double main-event as WWF Champion Flair went up against Randy Savage in quite a good match, and the big men battled as Hulk Hogan fought Sid (Vicious) Justice. The main event was notable for the return of The Ultimate Warrior.

This was also The Undertaker's first Wrestlemania as a face, as he totally destroyed Jake Roberts. Roberts never stood a chance. In a face v face match (seen quite rarely back in those days), IC Champion Roddy Piper dropped the belt to Bret Hart in a very good match.

WRESTLEMANIA IX - Caesar's Palace in Vegas saw the debut of Jim Ross, and a most unpleasant sight, one that will be with me for as long as I live - JR in a toga. Enough said.

Hogan returned to the WWF as part of a tag-team, The Mega-Maniacs, with his cousin Brutus Beefcake, going up against Money Inc., Ted DiBiase and IRS. They failed in their attempt to wrest the tag titles from the money men.

In a great match, the then-undefeated Tatanka fought IC champion Shawn Michaels, but it is probably more notable for the cat-fight between Luna Vachon and Sherri Martel.

In the main event, the late-Yokozuna challenged WWF Champion Bret Hart, who had one the title from Ric Flair the previous winter. This was a classic size v skill battle, with size winning out, with the help of a handful of salt to Bret's eyes, courtesy of Yoko's manager, Mr. Fuji.

Then, the all-American goofball came out to help Bret, and Yoko challenged him to a title match. Hogan won the title in less than ten seconds, and would only defend it once, in his last ever WWF match at the first King of the Ring pay-per-view, dropping the strap back to Yokozuna (thank-god!)

The Undertaker made perhaps his most memorable entrance at Caesar's, for his match against The Giant Gonzalez. He came to the ring on a gold chariot, with a vulture perched near him. Boy do I miss these days.

WRESTLEMANIA X - WMX returned to where it had all started from - Madison Square Garden, and with both Lex Luger and Bret Hart having won the Royal Rumble, they were both granted title shots at the WWF champion, the late-Yokozuna.

Lex got the first shot, so Bret had to face his own brother, the late, great, Owen Hart in the opening match. This was a great contest, and it was this family feud that propelled Owen onto the next level in his wrestling career. Owen pinned Bret for the win.

In the first title match, special referee Curt Hennig screwed Luger out of the title after he had big Yoko pinned. The big man went on to win the match, and the events with Luger and Hennig were meant to set up another Luger/Hennig feud, something that, because of Hennig's antics, never happened. Hennig would turn up in WCW about a year later.

In the second title match, Bret went against Yoko in a re-match from the previous year. A good contest, not exactly a show-stealer, but Bret came out on top for his second reign as WWF Champion.

But the match had to be the IC title ladder match between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon. I don't care what anyone says about the Hardys and E&C, but this is the best damn ladder match I have ever seen. One of the great moments in Wrestlemania history, and I highly recommend this match to any new wrestling fan.

This was the first Wrestlemania without Hulk Hogan, and the WWF showed they didn't need the old fossil to put on a good show.

WRESTLEMANIA XI -  With Big Sid by his side, Shawn Michaels challenged the man who at the time thought was a most unlikely WWF champion, Kevin "Diesel" Nash. The WWF surprised everyone by giving the title to Nash just days after Bob Backlund had beaten Bret Hart at the Survivor Series the previous November.

The match was not a classic, but it was good. The storyline between these two was well thought out, but it won't go down in the annals as being a Wrestlemania classic.

If anything, WMXI will be remembered for a match I don't particularly care for - Bam Bam Bigelow v Lawrence Taylor. Having Bigelow job to Taylor just didn't seem right. Neither did having this as a sort of "main event" match. Not one of the classic WM's in my opinion.

WRESTLEMANIA XII - In the preceding months, three men, Bret Hart, The Undertaker and Diesel had been feuding over the WWF title. Bret won the title from Diesel the previous November, starting a heel turn for Big Daddy Cool. The WWF then played a storyling involving Shawn Michaels collapsing in the ring during a match with Owen Hart, then coming back from seeming retirement to win the Royal Rumble and earn a title shot at Bret.

But first the big men - Diesel and The Undertaker, both about the same size as each other, put on a damn good show in one of Kevin Nash's last WWF shows. The shame about this feud was that it didn't run the full course. Nash would soon leave to form the nWo in WCW, while 'Taker moved onto other things.

Roddy Piper also made an appearance as WWF President, in a Back Lot Brawl with Goldust. The fight would carry on to the arena, with the help of the O.J. Simpson car chase footage. This was Piper's last (at this time) WM appearance.

In the main event, Bret and Shawn contested a sixty-minute Ironman match. As an old-school mark, this was a sight to behold. Two of the greatest wrestlers of the 90's went hold for hold and move for move. Neither man, no matter what they did, gained the advantage. We were treated to sixty minutes of pure wrestling action, and after those sixty, no man had managed to pin the other. So, Gorilla Monsoon ordered over-time, and after a superkick, Shawn pinned Bret to become the WWF champion, while Bret took time off to heal several nagging injuries.

WRESTLEMANIA XIII - The events surrounding Shawn Michaels giving up the WWF title would take too long to explain here. There are also several versions of this story, so it would take me too long to e#recount them all.

But these events led to one of the greatest moments in Wrestlemania history, and the beginning of a legacy, the birth of a wrestling icon which will be remembered for years to come.

For months, Bret Hart and Steve Austin had had a violent feud, which led to the submission match, with UFC legend Ken Shamrock as special referee. This was one of the best matches in WM history. Over the past months Austin had been building something of a cult following, and Vince McMahon, seeing this, realised he had to make a change.

So in one match, the beloved Bret, failing to release the Sharp-Shooter on an unconscious and heavily bleeding Austin, became the company's biggest heel, while Austin, who didn't actually change character that much, would go on to become the biggest star in wrestling, perhaps even bigger than Hulk Hogan himself.

In the main event, The Undertaker and Sid fought in a battle of the big men over the WWF title. Sid didn't exactly excite me as WWF champion. This was a typical big man battle, with The Undertaker, garbed in the original attire he wore in his first WWF appearance, coming out on top.

WRESTLEMANIA XIV - The continued growth of Steve Austin as a wrestling legend continued here, with Stone Cold defeating DX leader and WWF champion Shawn Michaels.

It was obvious early on that Michaels, suffering from a back injury, was in constant agony, and this match would mark (at this time) his final WWF match. Michaels looked like he would pass out at any moment, but still continued in the match.

A good match which will probably only be remembered for the fact that the special enforcer was Mike Tyson. Tyson at the time was banned from boxing, and this was his way of staying in the public limelight, and for the WWF to ensure a good buy rate for WM.

Michaels' buddy, Triple H, defended his Euro title against Owen Hart. This didn't seem a good point in Owen's career. Owen didn't really seem that great as a baby face. I preferred Owen as the heel.

The "brothers", Kane and The Undertaker, had their first of countless matches here. At the previous Royal Rumble, Kane had locked 'Taker in a casket and set it on fire. 'Taker returned vowing revenge, setting up this match. 'Taker came out victorious in this one.

WMXIV also marked the beginning of the long-running Kane/Pete Rose feud.

WRESTLEMANIA XV - Steve Austin and The Rock had feuded off-an-on for some time, but with The Rock as Vince McMahon's corporate champion, pitting him against McMahon's number one nemesis was good business.

The biggest heel and biggest face in the company put on a great match, with each kicking out of the other's finisher. Just reading about this in The Rock's book brought back good memories, and it would be interesting to see Austin's take on this match.

Austin emerged victorious (a sign of things to come, perhaps?), while The Rock soon turned face, sending him on a similiar path to Austin's - not changing character that much, but becoming incredibly popular.

The Kane/Pete Rose feud continued. Rose, in a chicken suit, attacked Kane but soon got his ass whipped.

Kane later went on to face Triple H. In the preceding months, Chyna had joined McMahon's corporation, and had sided with Kane. In this match, Chyna turned her back on Kane and returned to Triple H and DX. This didn't last long though as Triple H turned on X-Pac during his Euro title match with Shane McMahon, as both he and Chyna joined the corporate team.

WRESTLEMANIA XVI - In my opinion, probably the worst Wrestlemania I had seen. With only one singles match, a cat fight at that, this was a pretty poor showing. It seemed like they wanted to shove everyone on the roster into the event, so they had countless tag-team matches.

There were some good points though. The Hardcore Battle Royal was very entertaining, even if the planned ending was fluffed a little. The TLC match was excellent. The Euro/IC title match with Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho showcased three of the finest wrestling talents in the world today.

The main event was very disappointing though. The WWF title match pitting champion Triple H, The Rock, The Big Show and Mick Foley was very disappointing. Foley had come out of retirement for this match, and the ring rust was plain for all to see. Show was just plain embarrasing. Things only got better when it got down to Triple H and The Rock, but even then, it couldn't make up for the disappointment of the entire event.

And before you ask - the Kane/Pete Rose feud continued.
 

Wrestlemania X-7 Predictions

In this little section, I will dust off the old crystal ball, in an attempt to predict the outcomes of the WM X-7 matches. In the past year or so I've had a pretty good success rate at this sort of thing.

WWF CHAMPIONSHIP - Stone Cold Steve Austin v The Rock(c)
This, once again, has the makings of a great match, but the WWF is in danger of turning Austin/Rock into another HHH/Rock, or, Hogan/Savage. With The Rock's planned movie roles coming up, it makes sense for him to drop the title to Austin. However, the WWF have surprised us with main events before.
WINNER: Steve Austin.

INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP - Chris Jericho(c) v William Regal
While this does not have the potential to become a show stealer, there will probably be some great wrestling action here. These two are two of the best technical wrestlers in the company right now. My home-town bias is going to come into play with this one.
WINNER: William Regal.

TAG-TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP - TLC II - Dudley Boys(c) v Hardy Boyz v Edge & Christian
When I first heard about this one, I thought back to last year's great match, but then thought - where the hell are all the other WWF tag-teams these days. I'm sure this will be a great match, but the tag-team division, with the exception of a breif Too Cool reign last summer, has been just about these three teams. I feel a little disppointed here.
WINNER: The Dudley Boys.

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP - Test(c) v Eddie Guerrero
With the rumours that have been going around this week, this could turn out to be one of Test's last WWF matches, if he goes off to the Shane McMahon run WCW. Test has really impressed me as a singles wrestler. His teaming with Albert never really did it for me. As for Eddie, well, Eddie is Eddie. If the rumours are true, a new Euro champion is likely.
WINNER: Eddie Guerrero.

STREET FIGHT - Shane McMahon v Vince McMahon
This will not be a classic. Okay, Vince is in good shape for a guy his age, but does he really belong in a WWF ring? Hell, why not stick JR, & Paul E in a match. Wait, that's been done already. Anyway, this will not be a WM classic moment. There will be lots of chair shots, and some spilled blood. Maybe even the ownership of WCW will be on the line. Oh well, it'll be nice to see Mick Foley back as guest ref though.
WINNER: I don't care.

WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP - Ivory(c) v Chyna.
I don't know. This is one match that really doesn't do it for me. I remember saying to someone not long ago that as far as Chyna goes, I'm totally indifferent. The same could be said for Ivory as well I suppose. This will probably be my going to the toilet for a long dump match.
WINNER: Who cares?

HARDCORE CHAMPIONSHIP - Raven(c) v Big Show v Kane
Putting the two big monsters in with Raven in this sort of environment could be an error in my opinion. It would be great to see the behemoths kick the crap out of each other, then for Raven to pick up the pieces and get the pin. That way the HC title will stay where it belongs.
WINNER: Raven.

TRIPLE H V THE UNDERTAKER
The crowd will probably be very "up" for this one. Although this doesn't have much storyline to it, the battle of the former champions could end up being one of the best on the card. These two have faced each other before, but many will probably remember this one once it's over. I have a feeling this will go on for a good few months as well.
WINNER; Triple H.

CHRIS BENOIT V KURT ANGLE
I am really looking forward to this one. This match between two of the best wrestlers in the world right now could either rank alongside the Savage/Steamboat of WMIII, and become a show-stealer, or could fall flat on it's face. The old school in me is hoping for the former. Not much of a background story will not stop this one from becoming a classic.
WINNER: Chris Benoit.

TAZZ/APA V RIGHT TO CENSOR
It seems that Tazz has replaced The King in at least one aspect in the WWF, by entering into a feud with the RTC. RTC is really beginning to annoy me right now. Have they really been with us for nearly a year now? Anyway, something tells me that the good guys won't come out of this one in good shape. Steven Richards will probably pull something out of those old white socks of his.
WINNER; RTC.

GIMMICK BATTLE ROYAL
Boy will this bring back some memories. We will be taken on a trip down memory lane, re-visiting some old friends in the form of The Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, Doink, Earthquake, The One Man Gang and many, many more. Making this a one-time thing with the old guys is the right thing to do. Don't offer the winner a title shot on Raw the next night. By having these old stars out for one night, and not pushing the hell out of them, WCW-style, is just right. Hopefully, this will make some of the younger fans realise that there was wrestling before 1995.
WINNER; The fans.
 

 Kendo Nagasaki

Many people, when asked who their childhood heroes were, would probably name a sporting hero, an actor or actress, a musician, or someone, say, like Neil Armstrong, who achieved something great.

Sure, I have many people like that who were childhood heroes of mine, but a particular favourite of mine was not a pop star, an actor, or even an astronaut.

His name was Kendo Nagasaki, and in my opinion, was the greatest heel ever to step into a British wrestling ring.

Nagasaki had it all. He was the evil silent warrior whose face was covered in that red mask, and whose blood red eyes stared out at you from within your television on a Saturday afternoon, who made all the so-called good guys, including the likes of Big Daddy, run for cover just by looking at them.

So why did I like this guy so damn much? To be honest, I have no idea. I have always liked the most vicious bastards in wrestling. I cheered when Earthquake squashed Hulk Hogan. I cheered when The Undertaker locked The Ultimate Warrior in a casket, and I cheered when Jake The Snake unleashed his cobra Lucifer on The Macho Man.

I would like to think that, in his own way, Nagasaki appealed to a great many people. He was indeed a silent warrior. He never spoke, never cried out in pain, just kicked ass. When you saw him coming to the ring, decked out in full Japanese kendo attire, you knew you were in for a treat!

And yet, Kendo was at the centre of one of the biggest travesties in British wrestling history. Like in Mexico, if a masked man loses, he must also lose his mask. Yet, in a match with Big Daddy (spits on the carpet, barely missing the cat) the fat slob managed to rip the mask of Kendo. Kendo would have to wrestle without the mask, even though the fat slob never pinned him or made him submit.

Things would soon revert to normal though, as our beloved Kendo soon donned the mask again.

When British wrestling began to decline in the mid-to-late 80's, I remember Kendo, through his manager George Gillette, challenging Hulk Hogan to a WWF title match. Obviously, this never happened. A shame, really. The bastard that was Nagasaki would have been great in the WWF of the late 80's. I would have loved to see him whip Hogan like a dog. Of course, I know that Kendo would never have actually pinned Hogan for the title, but given the proper handling and storylines, a Hogan/Kendo feud would have been great, and while probably not worthy of a Wrestlemania main event, it would have done for a Summerslam or Royal Rumble.

I also remember a connection he has to a current WWF superstar - in a tag-team match, one of Kendo's opponents was a certain Steve Regal (now William Regal). I forget exactly who Kendo's partner was, and who Regal's partner was, but I do remember that Kendo hypnotised Regal's partner, ordering him to attack Regal.

As far as I know, Kendo did compete in the US, in the old Global Wrestling Alliance, the small group that ran shows in the old Sportatorium. This group gave us the likes of The Patriot, The Lightning Kid (aka X-Pac), and The Handsome Stranger (aka Buff Bagwell), but it wouldn't have given Kendo the national stage his talents deserved. He also competed in Japan as well.

I remember a few years back, Arena, the BBC2 arts programme, did a special on Kendo. Unlike other so-called wrestling documentaries, they were very respectful to Kendo. They managed to keep the air of mystery that has surrounded the man for his entire career, so much so that, in an actual interview with the man himself, Kendo kept his mask on, and his voice was muffled-out. The only way you could tell what he was saying was by the subtitles. He came over as a remarkable man, not breaking character even once in the programme. Rumour has it that the BBC are interested in making another programme about Kendo. Sadly, they are only rumours.

Kendo is now retired. What he does now, I have no idea. But while doing research for this article on the Internet, I discovered something rather startling - there is no actual in-depth information on Kendo. There are a few pages showing what championships he won, and some match results from a few years back, but that's all. All of what you have just read here comes from my memories of the man, and the enjoyment I had from watching him compete. So, if anyone knows of a Kendo Nagasaki website, or a site where I can get some in-depth detail about the great man, please let me know. Also, if anyone has a copy of the Arena programme they could let me have, could they let me know also.

Perhaps the reason for this is to keep us guessing for years to come, to keep the air of mystery about him long after he leaves this mortal realm. If it is, then his people are doing a great job. And if the great man somehow, somewhere, reads this, I'd like to wish him all the best. Thanks for the memories.
 

What The Hell Are We Internet Hacks Going To Moan About Now?

Well, here we are again. Dog tired from a hard Sunday's work at the garden centre. To be honest, I'm only doing this column today because of certain website guidelines. I did consider leaving it until my next day off, on Tuesday, but, here it is.

So what am I going to run on about today? Well, I thought I'd talk to you about this thought that occurred to me the other morning, while lying in the bath.

You see, for some unknown reason, I began to think of the WWF's purchase of WCW, and I came to the following, startling conclusion.

WHAT THE HELL ARE WE INTERNET HACKS GOING TO MOAN ABOUT NOW?

Let me explain. You see, since I connected to this wonderful thing called the internet just over a year ago, and subscribed to various wrestling newsletters, some still going strong, some now defunct (Daily Smackdown, I'm thinking of you!), I noticed a sort of pattern among wrestling writers, including myself.

We loved most things WWF, and hated most things WCW.

But now, with WWF pulling the strings of the WCW puppet, I began to wonder, what the hell are we going to complain about?

For years now, years before I entered the world wide web community, it was obvious to me that, apart from a certain period five years ago, the WWF was always top dog. WCW was going downhill.

Writers in wrestling magazines all seemed to say the same, as did internet writers.

As my experience of the WWW continued, I saw that there were many WWF dedicated newsletters (Jack Hensley, I'm thinking of you!), and many ECW dedicated newsletters (Luis Tirado Jnr, I'm thinking of you!). But there never seemed to be a newsletter dedicated to all matters WCW.

And then, in February, when I gained full WWW access, the only WCW dedicated website I could find was WCW.com.

WCW bashing seemed to be a favourite sport of us internet hacks. We seemed to take great delight and kicking the ailing promotion. The best time for doing this seemed to be around January of last year, when Benoit and co. took the short trip from Atlanta to Stamford.

I know I'm getting away from the point a little here, but during this time, when ECW was going down the pan, we hacks all seemed to get depressed.

But back to WCW. Now that Uncle Vince, Aunty Linda and Cousin Shane are in control, things are starting to look a little brighter at the moment. And even though British television does not seem interested in showing WCW shows (shame on you Channel 5, Bravo, and especially Sky Sports), I am looking forward to hearing and reading about their first show.

But as I said before - how will it affect the internet writing community?

Will Jack Hensley now widen the scope of his newsletter? Will it become "WWF/WCW: The Inside Source Newsletter"?

What will PWD award winner Jerry wax lyrical about?

Will newsletters combine their WWF and WCW sections?

Will newsletters who only used to report on the "big 2" now begin reporting on the indy scene, or, perhaps even Mexico and Japan?

What the frell will I moan about? After all, the only American promotion seen on British television will be the WWF! (Again, Channel 5, Bravo, and especially, Sky Sports, you should be ashamed of yourselves!)

The next few months will not only be very interesting in the world of professional wrestling, but also in the internet community as well.

After all, with there being no more competition any more, things could get rather boring!
 

Backlash Predictions

Well, once again, I've dusted down the old crystal ball in an attempt to predict what will happen tomorrow night. As you probably know, I seem to have a pretty decent record when it comes to this sort of thing.

Three championships on the line! Stone Cold & Triple H vs. Undertaker & Kane.
This story line is intriguing, but it really shows that there are not many top of the line faces at the moment. The stipulations for this one are very interesting. Sadly, we in the UK only got to see the last match with these stipulations months after it happened, and then only on video.

Austin is proving that he can be a bastard, which is what I liked about him before. Triple H has always been a good heel. It's obvious Taker and Kane only got the titles for the sake of this match. After all, Austin & Triple H v Edge & Christian wouldn't seem like main event material with it?
TSC Prediction - Austin & Triple H to become new tag-team champions - and then to perhaps lose the belts Monday on
Raw.

Last Man Standing - Shane McMahon vs. Big Show.
We've seen these two before, and last time, Boy Wonder only won because of outside interference from a few friends. But with no WWF friends to speak of, who will Shane call upon? Rumour has it that the likes of Mike Awesome, Lance Storm and Booker T will arrive to help him out. And for the first time in ages, I'll probably be rooting for Shane. Why? Well, just look who his opponent is!
TSC Prediction - Shane McMahon, with a little help from his new friends.

30-minute Ultimate Submission Match - Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit.
Me thinks we detect the work of Paul Heyman here. As an old school kind of fan, I admit I am really looking forward to this one. They put on one hell of a match at Wrestlemania, and this one could be even better. Angle and Benoit are probably the two best pure wrestlers in the WWF today. This could be the show stealer.
TSC Prediction - A draw.

Duchess of Queensberry Match - William Regal vs. Chris Jericho.
What the hell are the rules for this match? I have no bloody idea! Will it be a normal match? What sort of stipulations will there be? Will my home country boy make the whole thing up as he goes along? I'm sorry, but due to lack of information here, I can offer no prediction! I need more information, damn it!

European Championship - Matt Hardy vs. Christian vs. Eddie Guerrero(c).
Well, I suppose little brother had his title shot, so big brother Matt should get his chance! During the past couple of weeks I began to think they were setting up Eddie v Raven! How many of you were fooled by that! Well, with a match involving three of the smaller wrestlers in the WWF, expect to see quite a bit of high-flying action. This could see the beginning of the end of two of the great WWF tag-teams. But in my opinion, I don't think we'll see a title change here.
TSC Prediction - Eddie Guerrero.

Hardcore Championship - Rhyno(c) vs. Raven.
Again, my powers of logic and deductive reasoning lead me to believe that this is the work of the former Paul E. But am I complaining? Nope! Raven really belongs in the hardcore division, and Rhyno has really impressed me, more than he ever did in ECW. As a certain cowboy hat wearing man will say - this will be a slobber knocker! And it will also make us realise how much we really miss ECW right now.
TSC Prediction - Rhyno - and Paul Heyman constantly telling us that Rhyno was the last ever ECW World Champion.

Six-man tag - Bubba Ray, D-Von & Spike Dudley vs. X-Factor.
Well, my main man LSD is stepping into the big-time. So far he seems to have just been a punching bag for everyone else. It's my hope that this one will show what the real Spike is like. (Hey! I rhymed!) Anyway, I don't mind X-Pac and Justin together, but Albert, well - IF X-FACTOR IS GOING TO SUCCEED, GET ALBERT OUT OF THERE! NOW! GO ON! DO IT NOW! AND SEND HIM TO WCW! There, I feel a bit better now!
TSC Prediction (more hope, really) - The Dudleys.

Well, there you have it, the old crystal ball is getting cloudy once again.

After a great Wrestlemania, Backlash has a lot to live up to. But perhaps we should remember here that Backlash has only been going two years, and isn't really billed as the biggest event of the year. To me, last year's Backlash only really seemed good because Wrestlemania was so poor.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this brief, small, preview of Backlash. We in the UK are once again having to put up with Channel 4's coverage of the event, so there will be numerous ad breaks, and some editing whenever someone says the word ass or piss. So I recommend getting the video when it comes out over here!
 

ECW Legacy

You know, lately, I've had periods of my life where I've become confused, disorientated. And this has nothing to do with the slight back injury I'm suffering from at the moment.

No. This is rather an odd feeling. It's as if I'm wearing a green turtle neck sweater, and I'm falling through this giant swirling thing, like some sort of time tunnel.

This feeling has come onto me several times in the past month or so, and it only seems to happen when I'm watching wrestling.

It started a little while ago. I was watching the wrestling one weekend, and I got an odd feeling, as if I'd travelled back in time. Two men appeared on the television before me, men I hadn't seen together in the same place for a few months.

One was a little, nerdy looking fellow, called Spike, the other, a large, man-beast of a man, going by the name of a certain animal found in Africa and in zoos around the world.

The last time I had seen these two together was in an ECW ring. Yet, I knew that Extreme Championship Wrestling was no more. It had ceased to be.

Yet, how come these two ECW wrestlers were in the ring with each other. Perhaps I had travelled back in time. There was no sign of an old, blue police box, so that couldn't be the answer to my question.

The strange feeling of disorientation passed a few moments later. I found myself back on my couch, no harm having come to me.

The feeling returned a few days later. Once again, I thought I had travelled back in time a few months. I thought I was watching Sunday Night Heat, but things began to tell me otherwise when Stone Cold lookalike Justin Credible and that fella from the Bowry began slugging it out.

However, this time, I noticed a difference. It seemed as if the ECW Arena had expanded somewhat. A ramp now lead down to the ring, and someone kept letting off fireworks in the arena. I thought that this was somewhat dangerous in a small arena.

Then, it happened again, last Monday, while I was watching a video. My brother told me that it was a video of a WWF pay-per-view, but a few minutes into the show, I began to think that he was a big fat liar.

That little guy was there again, this time with his big brothers, as well as that Justin guy. Then, that man-beast was fighting with that bird-man.

Again, I thought I had travelled back in time. But I checked my clothing. I was wearing my trusty Bayern Munich shirt and black sweat pants. No awful turtle neck and sixties side-parting. No swirling thing around me either.I then checked my television listings. No ECW shows were broadcast over the weekend. I then began to wonder if perhaps, all the stories about ECW were wrong. Paul Heyman wasn't broke. ECW wasn't bankrupt. They were alive and well, and were now holding shows in larger arenas.

Then reality hit me. I was brought back down to earth with a resounding thud. Vince McMahon appeared before me.

Since then, apart from the back pain, the disorientation has ceased. ECW, in name only, is dead and buried. But just watching the current WWF shows that in our hearts, and in our minds, ECW will live on forever.
 

Jerry Lawler

Is it me, or has this week been the first week in ages where there has been no news item about Jerry Lawler leaving the WWF? I said at the time, I wouldn't write about those events, because everyone else probably would. Many of my fellow Internet hacks did a fine job, but as the time has passed, I thought that now would be the time to give my views on what has happened in recent weeks.

I have never been a big fan of Lawler the wrestler. But I was a huge fan of Lawler the announcer. Lawler and Jim Ross made a great broadcast team. Lawler was the perfect funny man to JR's straight man act. In my opinion, they were even better than the Vince McMahon-Jesse Ventura team of over a decade ago.

But all of this came to a swift and drastic end when Stacey got fired, and Jerry walked with her. We've all heard the rumours as to why she left. But this piece isn't about those rumours, it's about how Jerry and Stacey have handled themselves in the aftermath.

It seems that there wasn't a day gone by when you would hear news of Jerry and Stacey appearing on a radio or TV show, complaining about how they had been ill-treated. To begin with, this was okay. You could understand their frustrations with their former employers.

But then the days of complaining became a week, and then several weeks. It seemed that whenever you read an e-mail newsletter or checked out a news section on a wrestling website, you would see at least one story of Jerry and Stacey whining and bitching about something, constantly insulting all things WWF.

Just last week, we had Jerry's own cousin, Wayne Ferris, Honkytonk Man to the rest of the world, publicly criticising Jerry for his comments, saying that Jerry had spoken publicly about this matter for far too long.

Now this is something of a stretch for me - I've always hated the Honkytonk Man gimmick, but I actually agree with the old grease ball. Jerry and Stacey are carrying this too far now. After all, how long has it been since they left the WWF? Must be nearly two months now!

The funny thing is, they say they would like to return to the WWF! Well, constantly criticising your past/prospective employer in public isn't exactly the right way to go about things now, is it?

The latest rumour is that Jerry is going to join the WCW announce team. Before WWFE brought WCW, I would have believed this. In the days of Ted Turner, this would have been a great way of giving old Uncle Vince the finger. But now that old Uncle Vince has WCW, this really doesn't seem likely to me.

So if I was Jerry and Stacey's advisor, or agent, or something like that, I would advise them to do one thing - SHUT THE HELL UP! Am I the only one who thinks that they aren't really helping their case anymore? Am I the only one who has lost some sympathy with them?

Another piece of advice here, to those people who started Internet petitions, to get Jerry and Stacey back with the WWF - don't bother. The longer this thing goes on, the less likely you're going to see Jerry back on Raw and Smackdown.

Before I go, I would like to offer one comment on Jerry and Stacey's official website. You see, like many hot-blooded males, I was, ahem, "intrigued" by certain pictures. However, I was surprised that I wasn't offered a trial membership, and that I didn't need my credit card to look at these pictures!

If anyone reading this also gets one of those top-shelf magazines, dedicated to reader's wives and girlfriends, don't be surprised if you see Stacey from Memphis, pics sent in by Jerry, sometime soon!
 

Random Ramblings May 2001

Alas, I'm going to start by discussing some sad news. A few days ago, my favourite female wrestling columnist, Graysox, announced that she was giving up writing for a while. I can understand her reasons for doing this, but I am still saddened nonetheless. In an Internet world that seems to be dominated by men, her views on the wrestling world were truly refreshing. I will miss her twice weekly updates. I would also never have probably heard of one of the sites I write for, Pro Wrestling Columns (www.prowrestlingcolumns.com). Ah well, I hope she enjoys her time off. Have fun my young friend. (Boy do I sound old here!)

Anyway, Judgement Day is now history. It wasn't surprising that the Austin/Taker match was made no holds barred. Austin is a damned good wrestler, but only seems to get the crowd reaction when he's brawling. Guess this is the old school in me talking again.

While the event had some good matches, the best of all had to be the tag-team turmoil match. I had a feeling that Chris Benoit would turn out to be Chris Jericho's mystery partner. At first, I thought it would either be someone from the WWF who hadn't been seen in a while, Al Snow, or someone like that, or perhaps one of the WCW men.

Now I hear that the two Canadian Chris' are tag-team champions. (Don't forget we Brits don't get Raw until Fridays) About time my fellow Canadians got to the top again. (Before anyone says anything, I am British, but my paternal grandmother was born in Canada. This means that not only am I eligible to play football for England, but I can play for Canada as well.) To keep things fresh, I'd like to see Benoit and Jericho in an extended feud with the so-called Two Man Powertrip.

Another thing I heard about Raw - the Big Show is Hardcore champion, again? Please, someone tell me this is a lie! Rhyno was one of the best things that ever happened to that belt!I hope the man-beast gets the title back PDQ. I've never been a fan of the big goof (I SAID GOOF!) I keep hearing how he lost all that weight down in Ohio, yet he still looks the same to me.

Something I read on the Internet was a complaint about the Chyna/Lita angle, mainly because their angle didn't involve in them hating each other and wanting to tear each other's hearts out. My reply to this - so? I thought it was very refreshing to see an angle like this - a spot of friendly rivalry, as it were. No harm in that at all.

I agree with everything Jerry Lynn said about Judgement Day and the Light-Heavyweight championship. This belt is in the hands in one of the best wrestlers in the company, and should be defended at each and every pay-per-view. Just look at the athletes that could fit into the division - Lynn himself, X-Pac, Justin Credible, Spike Dudley, Crash Holly, Kai En Tai, the Hardys, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, and probably many more.

The interesting news item from last week was about Fully Loaded becoming Invasion. May I make my prediction now - Stone Cold v Booker T for the main event.

My article last week about Jerry Lawler earned a great deal of response. Out of common courtesy, I forwarded a copy of the article to The King himself. I received an AOL receipt for it, so I know that he has at least opened it. No reply yet, but I'll let you know what he says!

May I just say a quick and big thanks to the WAW people, who continue to be friendly and courteous in their dealings with me. I hope that Martin Marshall gets his computer sorted out soon, so I can get some of that research material, and finally get those WAW newspaper and magazine articles written!

Do any of you remember the review I gave to the PC game Extreme Warfare 2? Well, a newer, updated version came out a couple of weeks ago. Just thought you'd like to know.

Finally, tomorrow (Wednesday 23rd), is the second anniversary of Owen Hart's death. To mark the occasion, in my newsletter, "The Two Sheds Chronicles", I will be reprinting some of my articles about Owen. I know this may sound like I'm just trying to get more subscribers, but to read them, either send a blank e-mail to twoshedschronicles-subscribe@topica.com, or log onto www.topica.com/lists/twoshedschronicles/read. Some have said that my first article about Owen, written just days after his death, is one of the best pieces I have written. Please give it a look.

Until then - remember Owen for a few moments tomorrow.
 

I Miss WCW

I am going to start by saying something I thought I never would - I am starting to miss WCW. Many of us writers have said recently that the WWF is getting a bit stale as of late. With The Rock off doing his films, Rikishi's bad shoulder,  and now with Triple H's terrible injury, and the supposed end of the Undertaker-Austin angle, there seems to be a big gap at the top of the tree.

I fully applaud the efforts to get Chris J & Chris B up to the top branch, but even the blindest of men can see there is "No Chance In Hell" of Jericho becoming WWF Champion at King of the Ring. Benoit, however, does seem a cert to become the king.

But getting back to WCW, I must admit I'm starting to have my doubts about WWFE owning the "big two". In years gone by, one could look at the other and say "well, they did that this week, what are we going to do to top that?" WCW came up with the NWO angle, so WWF came up with their new "attitude".

But since WCW shut down, there has been nothing to compare the WWF with. They've had no one to give them the proverbial kick in the pants as it were. Sure, they've made some good efforts as of late. Taker/Austin was well written, Rhyno was cooking up a storm, Angle and Shane shows some prospects, the light-heavies are finally getting a nod, and at last, we have Tajiri, but there is nothing to compare these to at the moment.

And this, I must admit, is making my job a little difficult at the moment. I have very little to draw inspiration from, and I can actually see what Graysox was saying a couple of weeks ago.

I suppose this was why I developed such a strong interest in WAW. But to be honest, things are even starting to wane on that front, but Fightmare was over a month ago, and since then, we've had zilch publicity from them. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to sound like I'm knocking them, and I still hope that I can work for them in some way, but after the blaze of publicity they had for Fightmare, and their efforts to get British wrestling back "where it belonged", on British television, apart from a small news snippet regarding a charity event in Lowestoft in July, there hasn't been much more than a whimper from them.

Like all good businesses, the WWF needs competition at the moment. And at this moment in time, I really can't see where it's going to come from.
 

Life As An Internet Wrestling Journalist Is Hard

I have a confession to make to you all.

You see, with my day job, my new web site, and my newsletter, I considered doing something - giving up doing a wrestling column.

Why? Well, I suppose you could say I was getting a form of writer's block, something I did actually suffer from many, many years ago. I was finding it difficult to get ideas on what to write about.

The reason for this can be put down to a two things.

1) NO MORE ECW - It took me a while to warm to ECW, but when I finally did, when it finally hit me how good ECW was, it happens. The shit hits the fan, and ECW goes to the wall. I am therefore denied such talent as Steve Corino, The Sandman, RVD, and many more.

2) WWFE BUYS WCW - One of my favourite past times before March this year was bashing WCW. There wasn't much I actually liked about them. There were only a few wrestlers who really excited me whenever I watched Nitro or Thunder. Vampiro, Lance Storm, Mike Awesome, to name a few. Their Cruiser weight division was another of the few highlights. It didn't compare to the WWF light-heavies.

It annoyed me that they could get a great talent, a world class talent, and bury them deep into the ground, while some other overpriced, over the hill, bald has-been could turn up just twice a month, huff and puff around the ring for ten minutes in a so-called main-event, and get paid what a small African country could live on for an entire year.

It really annoyed me that their world championship seemed to be put into a pass the parcel like game. So who's champion this week? Well, who's drawn the short straw?

When WCW went belly up, and WWFE came in and rescued them, to be honest, I really feared the worst. Vince McMahon was already signing the top talent from the now dead ECW, and now he controlled all the pieces on the Monopoly board.

It was The Professor who kept saying that Vince will merge the two companies, and how it could work. No he won't, I protested. It would never work.

It was around about this time, that I began to take an interest in my local indy promotion, WAW. I got caught up in their hype.

I also began to explore other avenues - my aforementioned newsletter and web site, for instance.

I continued to watch the goings-on in the wrestling world, and noticed that, with only one major player in the game now, the news items I was reading every day had, quite frankly, become very, very boring. We kept on hearing the same old thing.

Then, what could only be termed as the first casualty of the Internet writing community came. The legendary Graysox threw in her wrestling towel. This really saddened me. It would be a couple of weeks later when The Chokeslam Newsletter changed their policy, and decided to start reporting on indy wrestling, and not just the "big two", or "big one" as they now were.

And so as I continued with my various ventures, I continued to write about WAW, as well as hunting down some free wrestling simulators to review as well.

But the ideas began to dry up, and something began to happen to me that had last happened about seven or eight years ago - I began to lose interest in wrestling.

The perfect example of this came a couple of weeks ago, after my weekend trip to Cornwall. When I came back, I sat down in front of my computer, and had absolutely no idea what to write about. It was then I realised that I had an old column, about Kendo Nagasaki, that I had written in March that had only been published in my own newsletter. So I sent that out for publication.

With the intention of taking a sabbatical from wrestling writing, I began to get a great deal of feedback on the Nagasaki column. This really pleased me. I had no idea that anyone on the far side of the Atlantic had ever heard of Nagasaki.

With renewed vigour, I decided to stick with things, and almost straight away, things began to pick up.

My favourite Canadians, Jericho and Benoit, began to get the push I thought they should have had long ago. My fave little man LSD began to get some much needed airtime. Rhyno began to kick the shit outof everyone, become the tough old bastard rule breaker that hadn't been seen since the early days of Kane. And then, possibly my third favourite Japanese wrestler (behind Jushin Liger and The Great Muta, and shortly ahead of Jinsei Shinzaki), Tajiri, appeared on WWF television.

Then, the WCW invasion began, first with Lance Storm, then with Hugh Morrus, and now, with DDP.

And so the ideas for the next few columns began to flow again. WAW may not be doing much right now, but at least I've got some more material.

This old Internet hack may have a badly gashed right arm that needs treatment every two days at the moment, but he isn't down and out just yet!
 

WWF v WCW

"Pardon me, but didn't King of the Ring used to be a one-night, single elimination tournament?"

Everyone else is writing about it, so I may as well too.

This year's King of the Ring provided some top-notch action. From top to bottom, we had some great matches. But a part of me can't help but feel a little disappointed with things.

I began to feel this when the fourth match of the night began. In years gone by, the final of KOTR was either the last or last-but-one match on the card, but the fourth match? Come on!

Like other writers, I was a little disappointed that all four semi-final spots were filled by rule-breakers, but hats of to Edge. After becoming a legend in the tag-team ranks, Edge deserves this accolade, and this push.

But in the coming weeks and months, we Internet hacks won't be talking about the tournament. We'll be talking about the WCW invasion. The "unsanctioned confrontation" between The Undertaker and DDP, and Booker T's botched move on Stone Cold.

I've got nothing against the WWF v WCW angle. But because of this, the actual KOTR tournament seemed to take a back seat. But that's enough about that.

The WWF v WCW angle does promise much, and it will be good to see athletes that definitely have not competed against each other less than a year ago face off. But watching recent events in this angle, reading about them, and watching KOTR, finally made me realise exactly what I had been missing in my wrestling world since ECW went belly up, and WWFE swallowed up WCW.

It's the actual politics of wrestling I am missing. One of the delights I had observing the goings on in the wrestling world, the constant games of one-upmanship that went on between the WWF and WCW, both on screen, behind the scenes, and in the board rooms. The constant speculation that wrestler X was unhappy with his contract, his working conditions, and wanted to jump ship from one promotion to another. It's what made the world of sports entertainment very, very interesting.

But now that Vince has all the cards in the deck, and with us Brits getting no access to news from Japan, Mexico, or even the Indies in the US, all we here these days are news snippets coming from Titan Towers.

But back to the invasion thing. While I am enjoying the build up to the event, and trying to guess which WCW star will appear in a WWF ring next, I do think that perhaps this angle should have begun a few weeks later than it did, so it didn't overshadow KOTR in the way it did. When the tournament first began, the winner would normally go on to near main event status, possibly even getting a title shot at Summerslam. So will Edge get his shot? Probably not.

When the angle began, I said I would love to see a title v title, Stone Cold v Booker T match, and it now looks like I might get my wish. But during the past couple of weeks, I heard a rumour that at Invasion/Fully Loaded/whatever it's called, we could see a tag-team WCW v WWF match. When I heard this, I had memories of 1997, and the Canadian Stampede pay-per-view, possibly the best 10 man tag I've ever seen, with a partisan crowd to match as well.

Such a match would make a great main event for whatever it's called, but how about this? Keep the invasion angle going right until Summerslam. Why?

There was a rumour last week that WWF Raw could become WCW Raw. If this is the case, then the Booker T/Stone Cold match could be held off until August. Then, with both titles being on the line, another part of the story could be introduced - the winner of the match wins the coveted Monday Night slot for their respective promotion. Then, with the right storylines, the angle could continue.

So Vince McMahon's stranglehold on the wrestling world will continue, and we will go along for the ride. The Invasion angle promises much. Let's just hope they deliver.

Before I go, I would like to send best wishes to my favourite current wrestler, Chris Benoit. Get well soon. A pity you won't be part of this great angle.
 

East Norfolk Backyard Wrestling

It was about three months ago, while doing some research on the Internet for an article on British wrestling great Kendo Nagasaki, that I first came across the name of East Norfolk Backyard Wrestling.

I was extremely surprised that such a group existed in this country, let alone just a short train journey away from home. Intrigued by their web site, and seeing the possibility of getting some material for an issue of my own newsletter dedicated to the British wrestling scene, I got in touch with the group, via instant messaging, with the owner of the group, 18 year old James Weston. In quite a nice conversation, James agreed to contribute something to my wrestling special, and we even discussed the possibility of my newsletter carrying regular reports for the ENBW shows.

Sadly, the deadline I set for them passed, and no article was forthcoming.

A short time later, when Martin Marshall of NRG films and co-promoter of the Norwich-based World Association of Wrestling, approached me about possibly doing some commentary work, someone, I forget who (it might have been The Moz), suggested that I get in touch with ENBW, saying that if I was interested in doing commentary, I should try and "cut my teeth" with them.

I let the idea slip, especially when another writer, David Southwell, said I should just turn the sound down on my TV while watching wrestling and try it that way.

I continued to pay the occasional visit to their web site (www.enbw.co.uk), just to take a quick look. I didn't really explore the site in general.

About a month ago, a couple of their number got in touch with me asking for help in trying to locate a wrestling training school. Knowing that WAW owner Ricky Knight ran a school, I was happy to oblige by giving them his e-mail address.

It was then that I decided that rather than make a passing visit to their site, I would make a more in-depth visit, and try to take in as much as possible, trying to find out exactly what ENBW was all about.

What I found, I must say, wasn't exactly pleasant. Okay, James and his boys are obviously very passionate about what they do, but whenever I hear the word "wrestling", I always get a certain picture in my head. The pictures on this site did not exactly match those of my mind.

The site of one kid putting what looked like a Sharpshooter on another kid in what looked like the middle of a field did seem somewhat laughable. But some of the other pictures on the site did not make for pleasant viewing.

In various locations, none of them being a wrestling ring, or even a crude facsimile of one, these kids performed various moves on each other ranging from a diving splash from a four foot high fence post, to being power bombed through a flaming table, to being thrown of a garage roof. Other shots included kids proudly showing off their blading wounds to camera.

The idea of working with these kids, while it had some appeal at first, now had absolutely no appeal whatsoever. I found the images on this site somewhat disturbing.

Having recently suffered an arm injury which will leave me with a large scar, which, as a result, as led to a friend of mine (a non-wrestling fan) labelling me as "hardcore", I have to wonder why these untrained athletes want to put their bodies through this kind of punishment. While I admit that, during the heyday of British wrestling in the 70's and 80's, my brother Michael and I would engage in fake wrestling contests in our bedroom and in our backyard, we did nothing like this.

My injury, which saw me lose my footing and fall, arm first, through a pane of glass, made me think of these kids. Whereas mine was an accident, these kids would probably do the same sort of thing for the sheer fun of it.

While I have nothing personal against James Weston or ENBW, I must say that this sort of wrestling is definitely not to my liking. Every week on their shows, the WWF superstars always tell us to "please, don't try this at home". Upon seeing the exploits of these boys, I couldn't agree more with that statement.

With the news that WAW will be holding weekly shows in Yarmouth, right in ENBW's backyard, and with my intention of attending at least two of these shows in August, there is a chance that I might bump into some of the ENBW crew.

So, don't take this the wrong way, fellas, but when you see the likes of Big Dave, Zebra Kid, and Hot Stuff do their thing in the ring, please, don't go away and try to copy their moves at home.

Or rather, in that old field.
 

The Return of ECW

I had already planned this week's column by last Saturday. It was only work and other commitments that stopped me from actually writing it.

I had everything planned out in my mind. I was going to discuss the WCW Invasion angle. You see, a lot of Internet writings had really annoyed me last week, and I was going to write about it in this column. The gist of the column would have been this - I was annoyed that, after a few run-ins, an in-ring "confrontation", and just one match, the WCW Invasion angle on Raw last week was being portrayed as a complete flop by just about every Internet writer going.

This I thought I was wrong, and this was what I was going to write about. I was going to disagree with everyone, even the "old man" (you know who you are!). I was going to plead with everyone to give it a chance. I was going to remind everyone what a mess WCW was in when WWFE took over. I was going to remind everyone that it didn't exactly take a couple of months of Vince McMahon's time to get the WWF where it is today, that in my estimation, it took nearly twenty years. Then, it happened.

The wrestling gods cast their gaze on the world below, saw what was happening, and....Extreme Championship Wrestling returned, if only in name, and Monday, 9th July, 2001, will be remembered as the day the wrestling world became one - in a way.

So why am I writing this, considering that I haven't even seen Raw yet? Because everyone else is. That's why. It's what I sometimes call Jones Syndrome, known everywhere else as Keeping Up With The Jones.

After the lethargy that greeted Raw and Smackdown last week, where the fans seemed more interested in watching a fight in the crowd rather than a fight in the ring, the McMahons, along with a certain Mr. Heyman, seemed to have pulled off probably one of the biggest coups ever in the wrestling world.

And the fact that they managed to keep it all a secret is all the more astounding. Last week we had news stories going around saying that Smackdown was going to become a live show because of the Internet spoilers. And they managed to keep this big story a secret.

So is ECW back, if only in name. While I was willing to give the Invasion angle another, small chance after last week, this week I will be watching Raw with great interest. No, that's a bit of an understatement. I will be watching Raw with great anticipation and excitement!

Having discussed the return of everyone's second favourite promotion, I'm going to tell you all a little story.

About a month before I began work at the garden centre, some six and a half years ago, the man who worked there before, a Mr. Roddy Kerr, failed to show for work one rainy day. His mother, a rather stern woman by the name of Olga, telephoned my boss, Derek Smeda, saying that Roddy would not be in for work that day. The reason - she didn't want him to get wet in the rain.

And then they wondered why Roddy wasn't kept on after his trial period.

Do you see any comparisons here? Perhaps to a certain event that happened this weekend? Of course, I'm referring to Judy Bagwell ringing in sick for her son, Buff. To this, I would like to say the following;

HA HA HA HA! HA HA HA HA! HA HA HA HA! HA HA HA HA! HA HA HA HA! HA HA HA HA! HA HA HA HA! HA HA HA HA! HA HA HA HA! HA HA HA HA! HA HA HA HA! HA HA HA HA! HA HA HA HA! HA HA HA HA! HA HA HA HA! HA HA HA HA!

Boy, I've heard some stories over the years, but someone please tell me, this is a joke, isn't it? Surely this big, rough, tough, wrestler could do this sort of thing?

Bagwell could do well to have a word with Triple H, who went through the final spots of a match with an incredibly serious leg injury. Now things don't go the way he exactly wants them to, he throws a hissy fit, and his mother rings in sick for him. This shows a great deal of immaturity on Bagwell's part.

I would try to think of an insult for him, but mommy dearest would probably try to hit me with her handbag!
 

The Missing Men Of Team WCW

Having watched both Raw and Smackdown last week, with, I must say, a great deal more interest than I have done of late, I saw Team ECW arrive on the scene. And upon seeing this great team of ten men, extreme legends they were, invade Raw, one thing came to mind - how desperate the WWF were.

Although I was willing to give it a chance, and it seemed that I was one of the few Internet wrestling writers who were, I could see that the WWF/WCW Invasion angle was flopping in a big way. Although there was a great deal of hype, the crowd were not just up for it, and in this day and age, even if you put on a great match, it doesn't seem to mean a thing if the crowd aren't up for it.

News would have it that the ECW part of the Invasion angle was devised on Friday, 6th July. The WWF creative team had to come up with something drastic, something to save the angle, to save the pay-per-view, and by bringing ECW back from the dead, they did it, but only just. From here in Britain, it looked as if the Priest was about to read the Last Rites. (Why am I tempted to put something about The Sinister Minister in here?)

Just looking at Team ECW makes you realise just what Paul Heyman has given the sports entertainment world, with his little promotion that put the scares up both the WWF and WCW. The ten men in that team would grace any ECW Hall of Fame, if such a thing ever came into being, many of them having held the ECW World Championship.

But in that final segment on Raw, seeing the combined WCW/ECW force together, you began to realise why such an angle had been conceived. All you have to do is just look at the WCW team that night - Chuck Palumbo, Sean O'Haire, Mark Jindrak, Shawn Stasiak and Chris Kanyon - hardly names to get the pulses racing, are they. Whereas their ECW comrades - Tommy Dreamer, Tazz, Rob Van Dam, Rhyno, Mike Awesome - well, that's another matter entirely.

Vince McMahon and his creative team have saved their asses with this one, even if it is only a temporary thing. They've put together a band of wrestlers who are more over than any of the current WCW roster, and this includes Booker T and Diamond Dallas Page.

But it does make you think, though, that perhaps the WWF should have gone for more of the people who are associated with WCW. If you think about it, there are three men who could have helped this angle out a great deal, three men who will always be associated with WCW - Ric Flair, Sting, and Goldberg.

Flair, although he spent a year in the WWF, will always be associated with WCW. He is truly  one of wrestling's legends, and although his wrestling career is now truly over, he could still have been of great value to this angle.

Flair could have acted as the commissioner of WCW, or, in the least, as a spokesman. Say what you want about his diminishing wrestling skills over the past five years, he is still one of the best mic men in the business. In this angle, this would have served him well.

The second man, Sting, would have served this angle well because of the fact that he has never worked for the WWF, and as far as I know, never had any intention of doing so. Like Flair before him, Sting will always be associated with WCW. Like Flair, he is a legend there, having won virtually every title he was qualified for. By bringing Sting into the angle, you would have had a WCW main eventer who, unlike current World Champion Booker T, seems on a par with the likes of Steve Austin and The Undertaker.

The third man, Goldberg, would have provided the so-called new blood for this angle. For the past two or three years, many people have said that Goldberg was WCW's version of Steve Austin. While I'm not going to comment on this, during that time, many people have also said what a great contest an Austin-Goldberg match would be. It had the potential to become the Hogan v Flair of the new millennium.

Goldberg was the rising star of WCW. By bringing him in, and putting the world title on him, he would have made the perfect in-ring leader of Team WCW. Imagine Shane McMahon standing in the ring with Goldberg, and telling his father "you've got your rattlesnake, now I've got mine!"

This is the problem with the current WCW wrestlers - Booker T and DDP may be good enough for a WCW main event, but they just don't seem good enough for a WWF main event, whereas Sting and Goldberg probably would. It's obvious that we'd see Austin beat Booker T. But Austin beating Sting or Goldberg? Who knows?

So now we await next Sunday. I must say though, that I am a little disappointed. I would have loved to see Austin and Booker in a one-on-one match, instead of in this "brawl" match. We haven't seen a match like this since Flair v Backlund about twenty years ago.

I'd like to know, though, if I'm the only one who already picked their teams before last Monday's ECW invasion? Well, although I was a little stuck on Team WCW, my Team WWF would have been Austin, Angle, Jericho & The Dudleys. Guess three out of five isn't bad!

But while still on the subject of Austin, and Angle as well, I am really pleased with the way this little team is going at the moment. They seem to have become wrestling's latest "odd couple", something we haven't seen since The Rock and Mankind a while back. They are total opposites, yet seem perfect for each other. Their verbal interplay, with a hapless Vince McMahon caught in the middle, is an absolute pleasure to watch, and long may it continue.

Finally, I would like to say a little something about WWF ring announcer Lillian Garcia. Am I the only one who noticed her complete balls up last Monday. When Team WCW was coming down for the twenty man tag match, she totally messed up. Do you remember the last name she announced? Chuck O'Hara. Yep, Chuck O'Hara.

If such sloppy work had come from one of the in-ring performers, they would have been hauled up before Vince McMahon instantly. Sure, she may have a good singing voice, but frankly, her constant mistakes are now getting really annoying. In closing, all I will say is - get Howard Finkel back on a full-time slot. Howard is the best in the business, and an unsung hero is ever there was one.
 

Invasion Aftermath

After a faltering, stuttering start, an event that at first promised to draw more yawns than cheers hit our television screens on Sunday, and quite frankly, blew us away.

The WWF/WCW/ECW Invasion angle got off to what could only be termed a very poor start, and if it hadn't been for the injection of ECW, which, so I am led to believe, is now officially owned by WWFE, this whole pay-per-view event could have been limper than Fred Durst's bizkit.

So, Monday night, I put the video in the machine around half seven in the evening, and settled down for a night's entertainment, finger ready on the fast forward button (Channel 4 had the rights to show this one, so there were plenty of ad breaks), in eager anticipation of what was to come.

And I was not disappointed. From the first match pitting Edge and Christian against Mike Awesome and Lance Storm, to the final ten man tag which saw Steve Austin turning his back on the WWF, this was one hell of a night, and it even gave us some match of the year candidates.

Although, reading various reports and articles on this event, I am left to wonder, why is, it seems, everyone in the world against Sean "X-Pac" Waltman? People loved him in the good old days of DX, but now, he just can't seem to do anything wrong.

Some wrote that his match with Billy Kidman was one of the low-points of the night. I actually thought that this match wasn't that bad. Okay, it wasn't actually a show stealer, but it was a good match between two of the top cruiser/light-heavyweights currently doing the rounds.

Yet, because the match contained the aforementioned Mr. Waltman, everyone seemed to be down on it. Oh well, guess you can't have everything.

Anyway, the match of the night had to be THAT match between Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy. While watching the opening exchanges of this encounter, a phrase started to repeat itself over and over in my mind - "the part of Jerry Lynn will now be played by Jeff Hardy."

This was a fine example of what a match should be. There were plenty of high spots, plenty of great moves, and the crowd reaction was tremendous.

Rob Van Dam showed that he belongs in the big leagues. He is, without a doubt, the greatest wrestler ECW ever produced, and one can only scratch his head and wonder why he never became ECW World Champion? Still, there is the possibility that, should WCW ever get a television deal of their own, that one day, RVD will become WCW Champion. He deserves no less.

And as for Jeff Hardy - this 23 year old has now held three of the five WWF singles titles. He is now a former Intercontinental, Light-Heavyweight and Hardcore champion. Yet the sad thing is that the combined length of time for all of these title reigns is probably only about four weeks. This shows that the WWF don't think he's ready for an extended title run, or are only grooming him for bigger things. Imagine what a Jeff Hardy-Lance Storm IC title match would be like.

And now onto Stone Cold. Well, I've only read the Raw report, I haven't seen it yet, and, if truth be told, the only wrestling I may watch this week will be Smackdown (a little thing called Big Brother taking care of Raw this week), but I am really intrigued by Austin defecting to WCW/ECW. I don't think I'm going to offer any comments on this development - yet.

But there is one thing I'm going to comment on, something no one else has since this entire Invasion angle began. The Internet wrestling e-fed.

Just over a year ago, I was in a couple of e-feds, and for me, the appeal of these was watching someone from WCW being matched with someone in the WWF, and going at it in a feud of some kind, culminating in a match at the imaginary promotion's pay-per-view.

Yet now, with the likes of RVD facing Matt Hardy, and Kurt Angle facing Booker T, the appeal of e-feds could wear off a little.

Sure, there will always be some of us who indulge in a spot of fantasy booking. Games like Promotion Wars and Extreme Warfare will always allow us to indulge in this, but will the e-fed world suffer because of this? Will we want to see Booker T v The Rock played out on a web site when, very soon, we could see the same match played out on our very television screens?

Anyway, I'm off. Before I go, I made mention of it before, but if you want to run your own wrestling promotion, log onto www.promotionwars.com to get the latest download of this great game. We are promised Promotion Wars II sometime later this summer, and with the developments the programmers have planned, it looks like it could be very good!

In case you're wondering, I'm currently the boss of WCW. My champion - Japanese legend Kenta Kobashi, with help from his co-horts Kaz Hayashi, Yang and Jado, known collectively as Team Burning. Kobashi is currently in a feud with RVD, having just seen off the challenges of Booker T, DDP and Lance Storm.

Hey, maybe I could give all these sites a new Monday Nitro report!
 

Life As An Internet Wrestling Journalist Is Hard.....Still!

The world if internet writing can be one of ups and downs, and in the past few weeks I've found that most of my 'net writing career has contained downs.

A few weeks ago, one of the site masters of PWC, Ken Matthews, asked me to become "exclusive" to PWC. I considered it, but decided against it, because I wanted to stay loyal to those editors and site masters who gave me a start in this business a year ago.

But recent events have made it feel like I am exclusive to PWC now.

Going through the list of editors I would send my work off to, I found that some of the web sites I wrote for hadn't been updated in ages, and some of the newsletters I wrote for hadn't had an issue out for ages. Then, I got a rather interesting, and somewhat saddening, e-mail and instant message from a fellow newsletter editor.

Mike Aldren, editor of Essential Wrestling News, got in touch with me and gave me the news - The Chokeslam Newsletter, from what I understand, the third largest newsletter on the net, was dead, and he asked me if I was interested in taking over the reigns.

This shocked me. TCN had a subscription list of about 5,000, and was regarded as one of the finest newsletters out there. Last December, when I reviewed several newsletters, I rated TCN as the best on the net.

What annoyed me at the time it seemed that the editors, Michael Van Der Hearst and J.W. Storm, would let TCN just slip away without a word. This reminded me of events earlier in the year, with the old Daily Smackdown newsletter. They had undergone a change of ownership, and their new editors, headed by one L.A. Navarro, just seemed to give up on it. DSD just vanished, and Navarro and his band of merry men couldn't even be bothered to let the writers know what was happening.

So, with the news that TCN was "dead", I emailed Michael and JW asking them if it was true they were looking for a new editor. I also asked them to do the decent thing - let the readers and the writers know what was happening. Given the number of subscribers they had, it was the least they could do.

To his credit, JW did this not long after I emailed him, and he brought good news with him as well - in his eyes, TCN was not dead, and would be returning mid-August. He then emailed me personally, asking if I would like to help out. I asked him what role he would have me do, but since then, I've heard nothing.

Michael finally sent out a farewell message a couple of days ago, thanking everyone for their support. He said that working for TCN at first was a pleasure, and now it seemed more like a job. Well, as a fellow newsletter editor, I could see his point.

So where does this leave my 'net writing career now? As it stands, this column will only be appearing in four places - the aforementioned www.prowrestlingcolumns.com, Jack Hensley's WWF: The Inside Source Newsletter (wwfheatitup-subscribe@topica.com), Adam Honey's 3:16 Report (subs316@yahoo.com), and my own Two Sheds Chronicles Newsletter (twoshedschronicles-subscribe@topica.com).

After a year of writing on the 'net, constantly being praised for my work, people coming at me from all corners wanting my work to appear on their sites and in their newsletters, I'm starting to feel a little disappointed. I'm now starting to look for more avenues, more outlets, more places where my work can be seen. I heard Mike Aldren was looking for more columnists, but his apparent "exclusives only" policy is a little off-putting. I even considered giving Shannon Rose of Pro Wrestling Daily a call. Shannon and I haven't seen eye to eye in the past, but he did offer me a spot a while back, which I had to turn down because, at the time, I thought I would be doing some work for WAW. Who knows, if that spot is still open....

So what have I learned in the past couple of weeks - that life as an 'net wrestling writer is just like real life - it has it good moments, but it also has it's down points. So, perhaps I should end by repeating the words of great British television character Yosser Hughes - "Go on. Giz a job."
 

Backyard Feedback

Some of you may recall that a few weeks ago, I wrote a column regarding a backyard wrestling federation, East Norfolk Backyard Wrestling. In this column I wrote about how I didn't exactly like what they did, and how backyard wrestling, in general, didn't really appeal to me.

It was shortly afterwards that I decided to do something that I had never done before, and put my column up for open debate. To that end, I posted that very column on the ENBW website message board, inviting people to give their views.

I also invited several others in the industry to offer their views on backyard wrestling. What you are about to read are some of the better responses I had to my little debate;

"Roadkill", (real name unknown) is a backyard wrestler who runs his own fed. He says;
Actually, one time I did go through a window for the sheer hell of it, (dropkick) leaving glass in my thigh and upper arm. oh yeah, and the DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME shit, they (the WWF) have always said that.Foley got famous by his infamous backyard leap from his garage (which I have proudly copied) and the Hardy Boyz (the greatest men to ever venture in to a ring) with their homemade backyard ring made from woodstumps and the like, so don't give me that crap about trying it at home, cos it worked for them. And even if it doesn't work for me, I love going through wood and jumping 10ft+ so I'm gonna keep doing it injuries or no injuries!

"Jackhammer" is another backyard wrestler. He says;
I agree roadkill. It pisses me off when people give backyard a bad name. Fact is people dont like old skool anymore, hardcore and extreme is taking over, and the toughest people are those doing moves on solid grass with no padding and getting hurt grazes,broken arms and loss of blood!. I feed upon it, its become a hobbie, an obsession and if that guy dont like hit then he can suck Knighty's (Ricky Knight, owner of WAW) cock along with the stupid WAW, WOW AND ####ING FWA! Put them in the backyard and these guys would not last 5 minutes let alone a 1hr iron man match

"Wyldstyle" is alsoa backyard wrestler. He offers a different view, saying;
The dude does have a point....backyard wrestlers that try to be as hardcore as possible give us a bad name. No one gives a shit how tough you are....this is WRESTLING....a wrestling match comprises of WRESTLING moves. Sure you can put a great hardcore spot in here
and there...but you are not supposed to get hurt...thats the whole point of wrestling..doing these amazing things without killing yourself. I know you are proud ofbumping on the ground..well guess what...PROFESSIONALS BUMP IN A RING....it doesnt impress me one bit that you are stupid enough to brag of grazes and the like....I'd rather see a backdrop driver than some talentless kid who can't wrestle a bit get cut to prove how tough he is.YOU give backyard a bad name. Theres feds out there...ENBA, EBW, YWF that wrestle like pros....suplex combinations..move innovations that just make ya go "DAMN!" Sure they do hardcore.....but they do it safely..yet still looking phenominal....grow up and start WRESTLING kid.

Jerry, of "Rounding The Squared Circle" fame, is one of the Internet's most respected writers. He viewed the ENBW website (at my request), and offered the following view; 
I looked at the Site and it confirmed my suspicions: another group of crazy kids looking to break their necks. I am dead set against this type of thing. As you know I am suffering from injuries I received years ago in a supervised sport, with proper protective gear. These kids are a time bomb waiting to go off. One wrong move and a broken neck - death or a life of paralysis (a fate worse than death).

Tony Giordano is one of the website masters of Pro Wrestling Columns, one of the most respected wrestling sites currently on the Internet. His view is;
From the images and stories I have seen about backyard wrestling, I have grown to dislike it.  These guys are untrained amateurs and are risking serious injury to themselves and others by performing this stuff in homemade rings or out in the open.  If these guys are so intent on wanting to become a wrestler and/or getting involved in the business, then, in my opinion, they should save some money, go to a local wrestling school and receive the proper, professional training.  I often see these backyard wrestlers doing foolish and highly dangerous stuff that can not only get them killed or permanently injured, but stuff that, in my opinion, opens the door for professional wrestling critics to bash the industry these guys are said to be honoring and praising.

However, that does not necessarily mean I will stop it.  As much as I may dislike backyard wrestling, it is not my job to be that person; it is the job of the parents, since most of these guys that do this stuff are late teens and early adults.  From what I have seen in the stories and articles about backyard wrestling, there are parents who seem to allow their kids to do this, and at times help promote their own matches and shows.  Some have even gone as far as to say that this stuff has kept their kids from doing drugs and getting involved in gangs, while allowing them to do something they enjoy.  So, if the parents are wanting to do this, then itbecomes their responsibility.  As for me, I wish that these guys would get a clue, get the proper training, and stop trying to mutilate one another in the effort to become the next Mick Foley.

"Rizo182" is a backyard wrestler who will soon be undertaking pro wrestling training. He says;
Hello,after reading your messages posted on the ENBW forum,I would like to e-mail you and disagree with your comments,your messages do make worthwhile points,how people can injure each other needlessly,etc.

Well,the truth be told is that backyard wrestling is fun,and there is not alot of things in life which are fun anymore,wrestling is a 2bit system,its either loved or hated,I myself am ridiculed at school for backyard wrestling,but by some kids our federation is loved.

It can  keep you out of drugs,and keep you occupied,out of mischeif and all the other stuff that goes around,and as also stated in responses to your message on the forum,can open the door to pro wrestling.

Par example,I have been considered good enough to join a new fed which will occur in 2004,the HCW,which will just be like WAW,FWA,etc:and they will use a ring,etc:but everyone there will have backyard experience aswell as training.

Also, (James)Weston is considered the top backyard wrestling technical talent in the UK,keyword there-Technical,not extreme,not hardcore,technical,to be honest,and no disrespect to Weston,but I have not seen him do anything remotely hardcore,but I have seen him do excellent technical.

Danny Smith is the 16 year old nephew of WAW wrestler Steve Quintain. Danny's uncle will soon begin to train him as a
pro wrestler. Danny writes;
Personaly as a relation of a highly trained wrestler I find these actions rather disgusting. I have been watching my uncle (a ring veteran of 25 years) wrestle since I was 5 years old and consider wrestling as my "life",I love the sport and while being trained by my uncle I hope to make the big time,although there is always the aspect of injury or death (Owen Hart) in pro wrestling I would never dream of putting my body and or more importantly my life at risk with a back yard wrestling organisation.So please boys leave the ruff stuff to the pro's.

Shannon Rose is a wrestling agent and site owner of Pro Wrestling Daily. He has been associated with pro wrestling in one shape or form for many years. He says;
My view is that backyard wrestling should be outlawed.

It not only can cause injuries from kids not being trained correctly but also gives children an idea they can do these moves on other children (maybe even much young than them) causing injury or even death.

Finally, James Weston is the 18 year old owner of ENBW. His comments are;
Ok, as people may or may not know, I run East Norfolk Backyard Wrestling. When we first started ENBW we always knew critism was going to be a major factor, but we have overcome that worry, we're not nihilistic youths, the "we don't give a damn!" teens. We're doing something we enjoy. Personally, I don't enjoy the Hardcore wrestling which is why you will never see me in a hardcore match. It's up to the person involved whether they like it or not. Some guys in ENBW like hardcore and want to partcipate in a hardcore match, that's fine, it's up to them, but I have set limits on what can be done, and EVERY ENBW wrestler respects the limits. Recently blading has been banned as we mutually agreed it is simply not safe.
 
Julian, I accept all your notions and comments and I agree with you, yeah we may be stupid for doing this but we enjoy it, and will continue doing so. To be honest I am quite flattered that you are concerned for our saftey, but I Suppose that is a humane reaction to seeing what you don't like. You are not the first person to critisice us you won't be the last. We enjoy BYW, you don't. That's the fact.

The biggest misconception people do have about ENBW however is that we are ignorant youths, uncaring for ours and others safety trying to get into the wrestling business. We ARE NOT trying to get into the wrestling business, we are in Great Britain, passion for wrestling just won't pay off, there is no chance of a decent job so why bother paying for training if we aren't going to look for pro wrestling employment? The truth is we are only concerned about one thing...EDUCATION. I myself will be attending University next year as will Big D and the rest will be taking up AS levels etc in colleges.

To close, we may be lacking of common sense and sense of morality even, but we are doing something that is saftey regulated (the stunts we have available don't get much bigger than what you will see on our clips, we enjoy and are primarilly doing as a hobby and nothing else. We don't play football, Rugby, we don't go to swimming, boxing karate clubs. We Backyard Wrestle.

It would seem that my column caused a great deal of debate in some quarters of the backyard wrestling industry here in Britain, and, when put together with the other views I sought, it provided me with a very intelligent, thought provoking debate.

The general view after this is that in many quarters, backyard wrestling is considered a bad thing, and if people want to take part in wrestling, professional wrestling, they should look for a proper training school.

While I admit that backyard wrestling isn't exactly my cup of tea, I will say this - I said to "Roadkill" in an IM conversation earlier today, that if these people want to go around and try to kill themselves, who am I to try and stop them?

I would like to thank all of those who offered their views in my little exercise here, but to especially James Weston, and Adam and Danny Yarco, who offered their thoughts and views in a respectful and intelligent way.

And while on thesubject of this "intelligent debate", I received this email today, from an unknown source, regarding my views on backyard wrestling. The line in the subject box read; "You are a Dickhead." The email said; Leave BYW alone, its a great thing and people like u undermine such a great extreme sport!

To which I replied -"at least if you're going to insult me, please tell me who you are!"

Ah well, guess you can't have an intelligent conversation all the time!
 

Diamond Dallas Page


If my boss took on a new employee, who took a drastic pay-cut to work at the garden centre, I would probably say one of the following things - a) he is a fool - b) he must be really desperate to work there.

This is exactly what Page Falkenburg, known to the world at large as DDP, did when he signed for the WWF. But many Internet hacks are now asking - did he do the right thing.

In a way, I admire Page. It took a big decision to do what he did about ten years ago. At the age of 35, having served his time first as a manager, and then as an announcer, Page decided to take the plunge and become a professional wrestling. To do this took some courage. Page could either have turned out to be a worse wrestler than Dale Wolfe, or the best thing since sliced bread.

It took some time, but Page did it. He was the PWI Rookie of the Year, and showed enough talent to be given numerous titles in WCW, including becoming a three-time world champion.

But when WCW went belly-up, and was brought by the WWF, Page could have just sat on his backside, and collected hefty weekly pay cheques from Time Warner.

But no. Page wanted one final shot. He wanted to prove himself on the big stage. He wanted to work for Vince McMahon, and he realised, that as a wrestler in his mid-forties, time was running out for him.

So he did the only thing he could. He dumped his hefty pay cheques, took a pay-cut, and joined McMahon's happy little family. And no one on the Internet saw it coming. When he appeared on Raw a while back as Sara's mystery stalker, it shocked everyone.

But since then, things haven't exactly been rosy in Page's garden. We've heard many stories. The funniest has to be what I will call "The Hugging Incident", where, instead of simply shaking Vince McMahon's hand, Page insisted on a big hug. Don't complain, this inspired some of the best moments in the Austin/McMahon segments not long ago.

But has his final chance, his WWF career, been a success. The answer has to be a simple no.

Page may have been a main event star in WCW, but that doesn't really mean that someone will automatically be a main event star in the WWF. Just ask a few former ECW World Champions.

He may also have been on the wrong end of some of the scripts. At first, he stalked Sara just because he wanted a shot at The Undertaker. That little scenario seems to have changed now.

I have to admit, seeing recent segments of Page sitting in front of the Sara "shrine" were not exactly easy viewing for me. I don't know why. I can't put my finger on it. But this whole angle seems to have run on a little too long now.

And then there were a couple of news items last week that caught the eye. The first being his meeting with the WWF about what's going wrong with the stalker angle. Instead of owning up, saying that some of the problems were down to him, and that he would try a little better, Page laid all the blame on Sara, because of her "inexperience." This I found laughable. Page has been in this business for over a decade. If Sara was having problems, surely Page could have said something to help her along.

Then we heard that the wrestling junky himself, Triple H, tried to talk some sense into him. Hunter may be the ultimate at playing the backstage politics game, but he is indeed a wise head. He knows his stuff, and for Page not to take his advice is a mistake.

And then we have the incident at the Pillman 2001 show, where Page, despite having agreed to take part in this charity event, wanted out. I'm not going to go into details here, but this was perhaps a show of some of the problems Page is having in the WWF right now.

The DDP stalker angle is perhaps the one part of the whole WCW/ECW Invasion angle that really isn't working right now. And whose fault is it? Everyone's finger seems to be pointing in one direction. Page should realise that this really is his last chance. He's not exactly in the first flush of youth, and the sooner he realises this, the better. Otherwise he could end up a no-hoper wrestling in one of the WWF's feeder promotions very soon.



Chris Adams - A Tribute

It was with some degree of sadness that earlier today, I learned of the passing of British wrestler "Gentleman" Chris Adams.

While Adams may not have been one of the best known British wrestling exports to the US, he was certainly one of the most successful, if not on a national scale, then definitely on a regional one.

Adams is probably best known for his performances in the old World Class and USWA territories in Memphis and Dallas. His matches with and against the legendary Von Erich clan are probably some of the best matches you could see.

And of course, Adams is also well known for helping to train a certain "Stunning" Steve Austin, and for later engaging in Austin's first major feud as a professional wrestler. I think it would be safe to say that Adams helped Austin gain the reputation he has now. Adam's feud with Austin helped the future rattlesnake gain national recognition, and Austin would probably be one of the first to acknowedge this.

Adams was last seen in the old WCW, first wrestling on his own as a face, and later, joining a stable consisting of fellow Brits Steven (William) Regal, David Taylor and Dave Finlay.

It's not my job to go into the details surrounding his death. All I will say is that I would like to offer my deepest sympathies to his family and friends. Rest in peace, Mr. Adams.  
  


My First Summerslam


It was in the deep, dark distant days of September 1989 when I say my first Summerslam. Back then Sky were about two weeks behind on the WWF programming, so Summerslam was actually broadcast here in the autumn. It was also back in the days when there were only four PPVs a year, and a long five month wait between Wrestlemania and Summerslam.

The whole event was used as publicity for Hulk Hogan's film, No Holds Barred. In the film Hogan played -yep- a wrestler, who was feuding with a big mother called Zeus, the "Human Wrecking Machine", played by Tiny Lister. Vince McMahon had the bright idea of carrying over Lister's character into the WWF. He was paired with longtime Hogan nemesis Randy Savage, while Hogan teamed with his cousin, Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, one of my favourites at the time. The match itself was nothing special. Lister showed he wasn't up to much as a wrestler (probably why he was no. 500 in the PWI top 500 the following year). He only had two more WWF matches after this. True to form, Hogan and Beefcake won.

Some of the other matches were quite forgettable. Dusty Rhodes made his first WWF PPV appearance, Mr. Perfect's unbeaten streak (well, unbeaten on TV) continued, and Ted DiBiase bragged about how he had ended Jake Robert's wrestling career (in hindsight, a pity this statement wasn't true, given Jake's sorry state today). The real disappointment was the six man tag pitting King Duggan and Demolition against Andre The Giant and The Twin Towers. These six monsters promised much, but failed to deliver.
 

What Summerslam '89 did show was great tag-team wrestling. The six man pitting Tito Santana and The Rockers against Rick Martel and The Rougeous was great, with high flying and technical wizardry throughout, Martel getting the pin for his team. Also, then newly crowned tag champions The Brain Busters went up against The Hart Foundation in another great match, only spoiled by the fact that it was a non-title affair, won by the Busters. Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard looked like they could dominate the tag division in the WWF for years to come. Sadly, backstage politics meant that they left the WWF just three months later.

The match of the night pitted Intercontinental Champion Ravishing Rick Rude against longtime foe The Ultimate Warrior. Five months earlier, Rude had stolen the title from the Warrior at Wrestlemania, with a little help from Bobby Heenan. Finally, the Warrior was able to get revenge. This match had everything, tension, drama, the ref getting knocked cold, and Rowdy Roddy Piper shocking Rude by showing his ass on world-wide television. Rude stood no chance and lost the match and the title shortly afterwards. It was during this match that The Warrior became my favourite, but then again, The Undertaker was still over a year away, and Stone Cold was nothing more tha a twinkle in Vinny Mac's eye. Summerslam has provided some great matches since it began back in 1988. Here's hoping they keep up the tradition!
  


Hogan Brand Wrestling


A couple of things in recent weeks have led me to once again think about a certain wrestler, a man who helped make the world of wrestling what it is today.

Ever since a certain incident at Bash at the Beach last year, Hulk Hogan hasn't really been in the public eye that much. There has been no retirement announcements, which I know has disappointed many a wrestling fan, including yours truly. There has been no call from the man who made him king to come back to the place that made him famous.

The only things we have heard in recent months is that old Terry is trying to start his own wrestling promotion. But this story has been doing the rounds for months, along with the ones that if he actually got the promotion off the ground, we would see the likes of Randy Savage and Roddy Piper competing for him.

But one interesting news item really got me interested about Hogan's proposed promotion - that being that he is considering basing the promotion in Europe.

Now, I know this is going to sound like an anti-American rant, but do you really have to send him over here just so he can make a living? Okay, many well known and talented Americans now make their home in Europe, but what makes Hogan think that we want to watch he and his ilk slowly huffing and puffing around a German beer hall, with Jimmy Hart shouting encouragement through his megaphone to the bemused delight of Hans and Frans.

I seem to recall that Hogan thinks that European wrestling fans would be more receptive to his brand of wrestling. Does Hogan think that we Europhiles would want to cheer Hogan v Savage chapter 9,257,874? The answer, quite simply, is no.

If Hogan were to base his new company in Europe, he, and all the other has-beens he's hoping to recruit, would have to do something that he and his comrades did not do while they worked for the likes of WCW - actually wrestle on a regular basis.

And what television company here in the UK would want to carry a program of Hogan-brand wrestling. Sky already has the WWF, one of the most popular shows it has had since the network began in 1989. The BBC? No chance in hell. ITV? Probably not. Channel 4 - given the fact that they are ending their agreement with the WWF, probably not them either. Channel 5 - hmm, perhaps.

Unless Hogan et al are going to offer us a credible alternative to the WWF, now that they have virtually no competition, then UK fans won't want to drink his kool-aid.

While staying on the subject of the so-called "Real American", the Biography Channel here in Britain have been repeating their "Body Slam Week" or programs. I enjoyed these the first time around, and I thought that it would be good to view them again, especially the first one about Andre The Giant.

I've mentioned this before, but one bit that really got me thinking concerned the events surrounding Wrestlemania III, still regarded as one of the best Wrestlemanias ever.

By 1987, Andre's career, because of his condition, acro-megelee, was coming to an end. This giant of a man who had carried the wrestling world on his shoulders since the late sixties was turning into a lumbering behemoth in the ring. The skills that thrilled the world for nearly two decades were now greatly diminished.

A few months before WMIII, Andre underwent back surgery to relieve some pain, and there was some doubt about whether he'd ever wrestle again. The fact that he did recover from the surgery was a testament to the spirit of the man.

The entire event was sold on the main event of Hogan v Andre alone. It was the old school v new school kind of thing, and it showed what sort of drawing power these two had back then.

In the documentary, Vince McMahon said that Hogan was truly impressed that Andre, this wrestling legend, was willing to job to him, to pass the torch as it were, to put him over. Hogan was truly grateful that Andre would do this thing for him.

But while watching this segment, I couldn't help but think back to a certain event last year - when Hogan refused to job to Jeff Jarett, instead invoking the creative control clause in his contract so that he would end up WCW World Champion.

I was left to wonder, if Andre had been alive today, what would he have made of Hogan's attitude that night? What would he have thought of Hogan refusing to pass the torch to a younger man, given the fact that his career was beginning to wind down?

Sadly, we will never know. But it just goes to show what kind of man Andre was, and what kind of man Hogan truly is.
  


Life As An Internet Wrestling Journalist is Hard - Part 3

The lives of Internet wrestling journalists have become rather difficult in recent months, and when you are an Internet wrestling journalist based in the UK, and you are seemingly one of the few who are, life is very hard.

When you have chosen to follow the world of American wrestling, being based some 6,000 miles away is somewhat of a handicap. Attending shows and television tapings is impossible for monetary purposes, and watching TV shows days after your US counterparts also makes things difficult. You find that you are unable to offer a first hand, cutting view on the proceedings.

And in the first few months of this year, life got even harder.

Paul Heyman's visionary Extreme Championship Wrestling went under. Although the on-air and in-ring product continued to be of high value, behind the scenes things were strained. The relationship with TNN was not going the way that Heyman wanted, and what was worse, bills and workers were not getting paid. Unpaid workers meant unhappy workers, but there was only one worker who jumped off the sinking ship, Rob Van Dam.

The demise of ECW led to the first Internet casualty. The 2Extreme Newsletter and website had gained something of a cult following. Their leader, a talented writer by the name of Luis Tirado Jr, was very passionate about ECW, and very vocal about his hatred of the WWF and WCW. When ECW went under, so did 2Extreme. In a final, very passionate column, Luis thanked his 1300-plus subscribers for sticking with him, and insulted those who had failed to reply to his offers of help. Chiefly among them was Adam Silverstein, publisher of The Top Rope Newsletter.

With ECW gone, Luis' interest in wrestling had gone with them, and in a parting shot, he said he hoped the rumours about WCW were true, that they were going under.

The rumours circulating about the demise of World Championship Wrestling had been doing the rounds for months. In 1996, they were the most powerful force in the wrestling industry. Having secured the talents of mega-stars like Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, they put the icing on the cake with the New World Order angle, adding the likes of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall to the roster. While the WWF floundered, WCW were on top of the world. But it didn't last.

Vince McMahon introduced "attitude" to his WWF product, and it took. While Eric Bischoff began to run out of ideas, Vinny Mac began to win some battles in the Monday night war.

A series of disasters followed for WCW. Poor booking and story lines by Vince Russo, Kevin Sullivan and Russo again, as well as overpriced ageing wrestlers with over-inflated egos and creative control clauses in their contracts led to the demise of this once might empire. Whereas in 1998 WCW made a substantial profit, in 2000 they made a substantial loss, and not even the proposed buyout by an Eric Bischoff led consortium could save WCW. WCW were the only part of the mighty Time Warner/AOL empire that was making a loss. Ted Turned wanted to unload this piece of dead weight, and the only man who was interested in this proverbial garage sale was Turner's bitter business rival, Vince McMahon.

Getting WCW at a bargain basement price, which included the entire WCW film library and 20-plus wrestlers contracts gave the McMahon family a virtual monopoly on the US national wrestling scene, with no one to stand in his way. McMahon had accomplished what he first set out to do in 1983. With the Monday night wars won, McMahon controlled the wrestling world.

At the time, I wrote a piece wondering what Internet journalists were going to do. WCW bashing had become a great sport, one at which I seemed to excel in. But with the god that is Vinny Mac now in control, now holding all the cards, I began to wonder what would happen to the net wrestling community, a place which had thrived on news, on rumours about wrestler X possibly jumping ship from promotion A to promotion B, I feared the worse.

With the rumours circulating as to whether WCW was going to be run as a separate promotion, or be merged with the WWF, there was a second casualty.

The Queen of Sox herself was the second one to fall. Even though I had been writing on the net for a relatively short time, Graysox and I had developed a mutual respect for each other. She was one of the best writers out there. After she read my comedy skit on how to become a WCW star, she recommended me to Tony G at Pro Wrestling Columns. So if you are reading this at PWC you have her to blame.

Graysox fell by the wayside as an indirect result of the happenings in the sports entertainment world. Like LTJ before her, she stated that she really missed ECW, sentiments I wholeheartedly agreed with.

The rumours about the WCW invasion of the WWF began. Start date after start date for the re-launched company were give, but none of them ever happened, and as the likes of WCW Champion Booker T and former champion Diamond Dallas Page accepted buyouts of their Time Warner contracts, the InVasion began.

And fell flat on it's face. WCW matches, complete with referees and announcers, began to appear on Raw and Smackdown, with disastrous results. The planned WCW InVasion of the WWF was a disaster. The fans weren't buying it, and neither was the net wrestling community.

So the plan was hatched to bring ECW, if just in name only, into the equation. Former top ECW stars were thrown into the mix, and the WCW/ECW Alliance, led by Heyman and the McMahon kids, was born.

InVasion turned out to be one of the best pay-per-view events of the past few years, and in the weeks after, apart from the god awful Taker/Page stalker angle, seemed to be going well. WWF stars won WCW titles, and vice versa. Fans who attended the shows seemed happy.

But the news items began to dry up. Whereas e-mail newsletters before were sent out everyday, some were sent out every two days, or once or twice a week. Some writers resorted to starting feuds with other writers, perhaps in an attempt to get themselves noticed.

E-mail newsletters began to close down, some without even saying bye and thanks for reading. The once great Chokeslam newsletter, the third largest on the net, stopped publishing. Having taken a lot of flak for proposing to hold a writing competition between two feuding writers, and wanting the readers to pick a winner, they closed down. They returned, but things were different. The quality just wasn't the same.

As the summer continued, so did the InVasion angle. At the premier pay-per-view of the summer, the WWF dominated their alliance counterparts at Summerslam. Talented WCW and ECW wrestlers who were big fish in their respective companies were now nothing more than minnows in the massive WWF lake.

As the angle continued, possibly the most significant casualty of the e-zine world was announced. Without warning, and without any sign that this was going to happen, Jack Hensley shut down his WWF: The Inside Source Newsletter, and deleted his mailing list.

This came as a complete shock not only to me, but probably his entire mailing list. Despite not having the massive number of subscribers that Top Rope or Essential Wrestling News had, WWF:TISN was probably one of the best on the net. Not only did Jack put out issues every day, but he also gave us Raw, Smackdown, Heat and Byte This reports. He also constantly updated his website. In short, he was a busy kid.

Jack put into his work a professionalism I had never seen in an e-zine before. It didn't seem to matter to him that he only had around 200 subscribers. It was the product that counted. And it was a damn fine product.

I was surprised on the day that Jack announced his retirement from the Internet wrestling world. It came as a complete surprise to everyone. In his final announcement, Jack said that he had found it a strain for the last six months. But with his list deleted from the Topica directory, there is no hope of a return somewhere down the line.

With the InVasion angle seemingly coming to an end at the Survivor Series, we are left to wonder how many more casualties there will be. The wrestling industry seems to be experiencing a downturn in fortunes as of late. There were times in the summer when I considered either "retiring" from wrestling writing, or just taking an extended break. I hadn't felt that way about wrestling since about 1995.

So what is there left now for people who want to start wrestling e-zines, when the likes of EWN and TRN only put out a couple of issues a week? One recent addition to the ranks is also publishing baseball and football results. Says it all really, doesn't it?
 

The End of the Invasion
With the news that the WWF is set to end the WCW/ECW InVasion angle a week on Sunday at the Survivor Series, I would like to go on record as saying - it's about time.

When the angle began, I welcomed it with open arms. I really looked forward to seeing WCW's finest go up against the big guns of the WWF, and when ECW were added into the mix, people all around the world said that it wasn't a bad thing, it was a good thing.

But now, this angle has gone on for far, far too long. It has failed to grip us, to excite us, in the way that the NWO invasion of WCW did all those years ago.

Unlike the NWO, it never looked like the Alliance would win the war against the WWF. With the NWO, it always looked like, at the height of the angle, that they would gain complete control of WCW. What helped with this angle was the fact that Eric Bischoff, the leader of the NWO, was also the chief executive of WCW. In the storyline, he could get the NWO boys any deal he wanted to, because he also had the power in WCW.

But the problem that the Alliance had was that the only two WCW main eventers they had were Booker T and Diamond Dallas Page. If the WWF had  made an attempt to get more of the WCW big names under contract, it would have made more of an impact. Even Eric Bischoff, as inspirational leader of the Alliance, would have been an improvement. Think of this; how would the fans have reacted if the Alliance had been led by Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman, and not Shane and Stephanie McMahon?

One of the mistakes in the ongoing angle was to return Heyman to announcing duties on Raw. Although he probably would have been against it, Heyman as a key player in Alliance storylines would have been a huge boost, and far better than pushing Shane and Stephanie down our throats all the time. It would also have been the perfect time to bury the hatchet with a certain Jerry Lawler. If Lawler had returned to the WWF, we wouldn't have had to put up with Tazz's ever decreasing announcing ability.

As far as the calibre and current standing of the members of the Alliance are concerned, it would be wise to look at who are the leading players in the faction right now - Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, William Regal, Rob Van Dam, Shane McMahon. Austin and Angle are two of the biggest WWF stars at the moment. Shane McMahon, while co-owner of the Alliance on television, is head of the WWF's New Media department at Titan Towers. Regal, while not exactly up to main event level in the WWF, is still a WWF wrestler, and RVD's contract has recently been changed from a WCW one to a WWF one.

In short, the leading players in the Alliance are all WWF stars, and while I'm not knocking the ability of Booker T, DDP, The Hurricane and all their comrades, it doesn't really say much about the WCW stars the WWF took under contract.

The most recent "defection" from the WWF to the Alliance, Kurt Angle, really baffles me. I simply cannot understand why the writers would do this. It makes no sense whatsoever. I could go on for ages about why I think this is wrong, but what's the point?

Another failure in the storylines could be that there was a lack of leadership in the WWF camp. Vince McMahon was off the screen for ages, having only recently appeared in the past few weeks. William Regal, as WWF Commissioner, could have provided some sort of leader, but with his defection, another of which I'm left scratching my head over, left another gap. Mick Foley was brought into fill this gap, but what with his other commitments, I'm left to wonder if the WWF now have another commissioner who won't appear on air for months. Anyone remember Shawn Michael's tenure in that role?

The one man who could have filled the role was the prodigal son himself, The Rock. Returning after his leave to become a film star, Rock dominated Booker T in their feud to become the WCW champion. But apart from his engaging feud with Chris Jericho, something is different about the People's Champion. This doesn't seem like The Rock of old.

The Rock would have been perfect as the leader of the WWF faction. With Vince not appearing on TV, The Rock, with all of his charm and charisma could have rallied the troops, leading them into battle against Shane and Stephanie's army.

While writing this, I'm beginning to think of another possibility here. Wouldn't it have made more of an impact if it had been The Rock joining the Alliance, and not Kurt Angle?

And so, as we enter the final few days (apparently) of the InVasion angle, I am left to ponder how disappointed I'm becoming, how disenchanted with the WWF I have become over the past few weeks. No longer do I get excited when Raw or Smackdown comes on. More often than not, whenever one of these shows are on, I always seem to find myself doing something else. Raw and Smackdown seem to be nothing more than background noise to me these days, something which distracts me while I'm reading a book, writing a column, or surfing the Internet.

After reading this column, people will probably tell me that the some of the things I've written are wrong. They will tell me that at least we still have WCW. My reply would be that that's rubbish. If we still had WCW, why is it the likes of Booker T and DDP stand under a WWF sign every week. And why is it that all of the current WCW champions are all under WWF contract?

They will tell me that at least we still have ECW. My reply would that that's a load of bollocks. If we still had ECW, why did we never see Rhyno defend the ECW World and TV titles? Why was there no tournament to crown new ECW Tag-Team Champions? And if ECW was back, why is it that the only ones we saw on the big two shows and on pay-per-view were Rhyno and RVD? Where was ECW's most loyal employee, The Innovator of Violence, Tommy Dreamer? Busting his ass in a Stone Cold t-shirt on Heat and Metal, getting zilch fan reaction when he kicked the crap out of some jobber.

In conclusion, I will be glad when this whole InVasion angle is dead and buried, because if it goes on much longer, I may have to find something else to write about.

The Radicals - Where Are They Now II
It was probably the biggest wrestling story of the year 2000. Four men, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero and Perry Saturn, disgruntled at life under the Kevin Sullivan regime in World Championship Wrestling, had decided enough was enough. Not even the awarding of the WCW World Championship to Benoit could stop these four men handing in their notices and approaching the World Wrestling Federation for work.

When the four men took ringside seats on Raw in January 2000, immediate parallels were drawn to Scott Hall and Kevin Nash appearing on WCW Nitro nearly four years previously. But whereas Hall and Nash had left the WWF and joined WCW because they were offered a higher wage, Benoit et al left WCW because they were unhappy.

The Radicals, as the WWF christened them, promised much. The WWF had got their hands of four of the world's best wrestlers, and all they had to do was push them in the right direction.

At first, all seemed to go well. It seemed obvious from the get-go that Benoit would be pushed the most. It wasn't long before he was wearing the Intercontinental title, and just a few months after his debut, he was headlining pay-per-views and Monday nights in a high-profile feud with then-WWF champion The Rock.

Guerrero, becoming a form of racial stereotype, also received a high profile angle, a relationship with Chyna. This included a reign as European Champion, and he was probably one of the best wrestlers who ever held the belt. One of his early feuds, with Essa Rios, provided some of the best matches of the year. The angle with Chyna would eventually continue, and included an Intercontinental title reign.

Malenko, after the disastrous run of Dwayne Gill as Light-Heavyweight Champion, brought some much needed credibility to that division. His matches with Rios and Scotty 2 Hotty gave us some great entertainment, and proved that Malenko, in wrestling ability terms, wasn't that far behind Benoit.

Saturn, though, floundered slightly. A run at gaining the Hardcore championship came to nothing. The only run he would receive would be on Metal and Heat. Saturn just didn't seem to find his niche until he was paired with the horny little devil herself, Terri, although many thought this was just for rhyming purposes.

The Radicals went their separate ways, and re-formed again a short time later as Guerrero ended his on-screen relationship with Chyna. A gang rivalry with a psuedo-DX, which included Chyna, Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and K-Kwik was promised, but didn't amount to much.

So, as WCW floundered, leaving everyone to think that perhaps these men made the right decision to jump ship. It also proved that the members of the group that remained in WCW, Shane Douglas, Konnan and Juvi Guerrera, would have been wise to perhaps join their friends. But in the case of Konnan and Douglas, this would have meant swallowing their pride.

So now, just a couple of months before the second anniversary of their arrival in the WWF, a certain news item has led me to thinking what has happened to these four men in the past few months.

Benoit, sadly, is on the injured list. The neck injury which seems to plague wrestling these days has taken it's toll. Possibly Canada's greatest technical wrestler could be out for another six months.

Malenko is apparently in a state of semi-retirement, training the youngsters in the WWF's developmental territories. Malenko has played the role of trainer before, most notably to Sean "X-Pac" Waltman. If Malenko is helping to train the next generation of WWF superstars, then they have one of the finest wrestlers of his generation helping them.

Saturn, sadly, is still somewhat floundering. A pairing with a mop provided some fine comedy moments. But is this all the WWF writers can find this man to do?

Guerrero's problems are well documented. A pain killer addiction came to the fore at the time he was put into a high-profile angle involving Lita and the Hardy Boys. Having fought off these demons, and doing quite well to get himself back in shape in the feeder leagues, he now finds himself out of a job, after being arrested for a drink-driving offence. Guerrero's new problems make me think, once again, of Scott Hall.

The sad fact is that, if all four men had been on the active roster, they could have played a key-role in the InVasion angle. The reasons for their departure could have been exploited. We could have seen more of the Booker T-Benoit matches that lit up many a WCW show in the past. We could have seen Benoit regain the WCW title from Booker, and then stating that, unlike the last time, he was now proud to win the WCW title, because he was winning it for the WWF.

We could have seen Guerrero v Guerrero, as Eddie and Chavo fought it out, showing that it wasn't just the McMahon family that was feuding in this angle.

Malenko could have once again shown why he was one of the best lighter wrestlers in the world, perhaps unifying the WWF Light-Heavyweight and WCW Cruiserweight championships. Bouts against young guns like Billy Kidman and The Hurricane could have been a lower-card highlight, and it would have been better to put the belts on Malenko rather than X-Pac.

Saturn, well, he still would have been looking for Moppy, and a decent angle.

With the injuries to the likes of Triple H and Rikishi, and the prolonged absence of The Rock for the majority of the summer, we are left to ponder just what could have happened to the InVasion angle had these men been injury-free. It's just a shame that, at a time when a high-profile angle was waiting for each and every one of them, The Radicals were not around for various reasons. The InVasion of the WWF by the Alliance could have been a great deal better.