Mike Reviews: ECW Heatwave 99 (18/07/1999)

Hello You!

So here we are, after months of absolute non-build we are at ECW’s big event of the summer in the form of Heatwave 99. Sadly the hype for this show has been poor to say the least, but now we’re here hopefully the ECW roster can enter a good performance and end the last Pay Per View before the TNN Era with a bang!

Heatwave 98 is possibly my favourite ECW show ever, so the 1999 version is going to have to go some way to match it. Still, with a main event of Rob Van Dam and Jerry Lynn taking on Justin Credible and Lance Storm, they should be able to end on a strong note if nothing else.

So without further ado, let’s adorn our favourite pair of swimming shorts, fill our inflatable crocodiles with air, put a big blotch of sun scream on the end of our noses and take things to The Extreme!!!

Read moreMike Reviews: ECW Heatwave 99 (18/07/1999)

Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #325 – 17/07/1999

Hello You!

Last week on Hardcore TV, The Impact Players of Justin Credible and Lance Storm actually managed to win a match for once when they defeated Jerry Lynn and Sabu in the main event. As well as that, ECW World Champ Taz threw out a challenge for Steve Corino to find him a challenger for Heat Wave 99 on 18/07/1999.

Speaking of Heat Wave 99, ECW has seemingly yet to announce any official matches for the show, meaning that most of the hype is now going to have to be done in one show. As we’ll get to, there have been external forces that have contributed to this, but it’s still been a pretty lousy build for what should be the biggest event of ECW’s summer schedule.

So, without further ado, let’s strap ourselves and feel the cheese as it’s time once again to take things to The Extreme!!!

Read moreMike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #325 – 17/07/1999

Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #324 – 10/07/1999

Hello You!

Last week on Hardcore TV, The Dudley Boyz once again retained their ECW Tag Titles against the makeshift team of Balls Mahoney and Spike Dudley, but the gutsy challengers ran them pretty close. Is it possible the scrappy duo of Spikey-Balls get another shot down the line?

In the other big match from last week, Rob Van Dam defeated Lance Storm to retain his ECW TV Title thanks to assistance from both Sabu and Jerry Lynn. Lynn especially seemed to play a key role in providing a chair so that RVD could hit his patented Van Daminator move, whilst Sabu was essentially there just to nullify Justin Credible.

We are now 8 days away from Heat Wave 99. It would be really nice if ECW could actually announce some matches on this show, but I’m not holding my breath in all honesty.

Anyway, let’s head down to Home Depot (Other stores are available) to pick up an assorted collection of warped weaponry so we’re nice a prepared for another journey to The Extreme!!!

Read moreMike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #324 – 10/07/1999

Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #323 – 03/07/1999

Hello You!

So I was going to put these on ice but a few people got in touch to say they liked them, so I’ll keep them going for the time being as the shows are generally easy to watch and no one else is really doing classic ECW stuff on here (Although Maffew’s reviews of WWECW are always worth a read if you’ve never given them a try)

Last week on Hardcore TV, Jerry Lynn defeated Justin Credible in the main event to earn himself a match with Rob Van Dam on this show for the ECW TV Title. However, a post-match attack from The Impact Players left him unable to compete this week, so Lance Storm will be taking the shot instead.

In other news, Steve Corino and Taz’s feud continued as Taz blew through Corino’s new “Rookie Monster” Rhino in mere minutes. Corino managed to escape unscathed once again however. Will Taz ever give Corino the beating he’s talked himself into?

The other big news last week was that Little Guido got a big win over Tajiri, although it took plenty of interference from Big Sal to ensure it happened. Will Tajiri be out for revenge this week? And lets not forget that Super Crazy also has an issue with both men.

We are also 15 days away from Heat Wave 99 on the 18th of July and we still haven’t had any matches announced yet. ECW really needs to get something on the docket whilst they still have time to actually hype the show. They have literally just 3 more hours of TV to hype the Pay-Per-View.

So without any further ado, let’s once again order ourselves a thumbtack kebab and take it to The Extreme!!!

Read moreMike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #323 – 03/07/1999

Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #322 – 26/06/1999

Hello You!

Last week on Hardcore TV Balls Mahoney assisted Rob Van Dam in defeating D-Von Dudley in the main event, but RVD was less than grateful for the interference of the Hardcore Chair Swinging Freak, which earned him a stiff chair shot in return. Will that be followed up this week?

Also on the show, Taz finally clocked Steve Corino after weeks of feuding between the two, but Corino was able to get away before Taz could fully lay a whupping on him. And Justin Credible fired the first official shot in the war between The Impact Players and The Dudley Boyz when he wore out Buh Buh Ray Dudley with his Singapore Cane.

Despite being less than a month away from Heat Wave 99 on the 18th of July, we actually haven’t had any matches announced yet. Hopefully ECW can start doing that this week so that we actually have something concrete to look forward to.

So without any further ado, let’s once again adorn our barbed wire underpants and take it to The Extreme!!!

Read moreMike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #322 – 26/06/1999

Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #321 – 19/06/1999

Hello You!

Last week on ECW Hardcore TV, The Dudley Boyz jumped poor Balls Mahoney once again in the locker room, bloodying him up with a chair shot. Lance Storm talked trash about The Dudleyz on the phone saying that they were ducking him and Justin Credible, whilst Rob Van Dam and Jerry Lynn traded barbs in the closing segment.

Where will all of these stories head next? Let’s see if that question is answered in today’s ECW Hardcore TV!!!

Read moreMike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #321 – 19/06/1999

Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #320 – 12/06/1999

Hello You!

Last week on ECW Hardcore TV, Sabu tried to wrestle Justin Credible but a gaggle of security and referees stopped them because Sabu is still unable to wrestle in North America due to Credible stooging him out to all of the commissions. Sadly this led to Sid coming out to seemingly brawl with both men when the showed faded to black. Hopefully we won’t be seeing much of Sid following this.

In addition to the Sabu/Credible stuff, a storyline continued to build between Cyrus, Steve Corino and Taz, as all three are trying to outsmart each other in a game of cat, mouse and lion (I’ll leave it up to the reader to decide which animal is an allegory for whom).

So with that all recapped, let’s once again pull up our adult socks and get ready to take things to The Extreme!!!

Read moreMike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #320 – 12/06/1999

Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #319 – 05/06/1999

Hello You!

Last week on ECW Hardcore TV, The Dudley Boyz heated up their rivalry with Balls Mahoney quite literally by flinging him through a flaming table in the main event. As a result of this act, Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten failed in their attempt to wrest the ECW Tag Team Titles from the half-brothers and must now do battle on the next set of tapings.

However, we’ve still got another week of the  tapings from Detroit to watch first, so let’s put on our big person pants and once again take it to The Extreme!!!

Read moreMike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #319 – 05/06/1999

Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #318 – 29/05/1999

Hello You!

So last week’s show was essentially just a recap of Hardcore Heaven 99, with a match between Rob Van Dam and Skull Von Krush tacked on at the end. It was as unremarkable as could be, but it wasn’t actively bad or anything.

This week we should hopefully have some more original content so that the storylines can start advancing again. So without any further ado, let’s once again take it to The Extreme!!!

Read moreMike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #318 – 29/05/1999

Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #317 – 22 05 1999

Hello You!

So here we are, a week removed from ECW Hardcore Heaven 99. You can read my full thoughts on that show HERE, but to give you the short version; the show had some good matches but ended on a downer due to Taz defending his ECW World Title against Buh Buh Ray Dudley. Yes, you read that right, Buh Buh Ray Dudley got a World Title shot. In 1999. Don’t look at me like that I didn’t chuffing book it!

On the Brightside, Rob Van Dam and Jerry Lynn had another corker for the ECW TV Title and the efforts of the likes of Super Crazy, Tajiri and Little Guido once again shone through. Lance Storm and Tommy Dreamer even had an enjoyable bout, where Lance Storm finally managed to win a match after months of being pushed as a supposed top heel!

Of course ECW then had to spoil it by booking Justin Credible, the other half of the top heel contingent, to look like an absolute chump against Sid, once again taking one step forward only to take two steps back straight after. Here’s hoping we’ve seen the last of Sid going forward, unless it involves him getting choked out by Taz in 30 seconds.

So without further ado, lets once again take a journey to The Extreme!!!

Read moreMike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #317 – 22 05 1999

Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore Heaven 1999

Hello You!

So after a couple of months of ECW Hardcore TV we’ve finally reached the Hardcore Heaven pay per view. The build-up for this show hasn’t been the greatest, with them essentially cramming all the hype into two weeks’ worth of television. Despite that, the card looks like it could be good with a Jerry Lynn Vs Rob Van Dam match looking to be the best one on offer.

I actually have the Laserlight Digital DVD version of the show, which I bought way back in 2001 from HMV. It thankfully has all the real music and isn’t dubbed. Sadly there’s no scheduled New Jack match though so I won’t be able to make the most of it in that regards. The DVD version cuts out all of the adverts and also chops up some of the backstage segments, but everything that needs to be here is here I think and the show comes in at just over two and half hours.

So without further ado, let’s head to the barbed wire gates to meet a baseball bat wielding Saint Peter so that we can gain access to Hardcore Heaven!

Read moreMike Reviews: ECW Hardcore Heaven 1999

Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #316 – 15/05/1999

Hello You!

So here we are on the go-home show for ECW Hardcore Heaven (Of which a review should be up of by tomorrow) a pay per view that suffered a bit in build due to ECW only really getting the card sorted a couple of weeks out.

It also hasn’t helped that supposed top heels Lance Storm and Justin Credible have been doing jobs to everyone and their sister in the build-up, meaning they are both roughly as heated as an icicle going into the big event.

In happier news, Jerry Lynn has been booked super strong and scored a number of clean pin fall victories thanks to his dreaded new finisher, The Cradle Piledriver. Indeed, he even scored a win over Credible in last week’s show as the two had their usual entertaining scrap.

Lynn is now ready and primed to challenge ECW TV Champ Rob Van Dam at Hardcore Heaven. RVD picked up a big win himself over Buh Buh Ray Dudley last week, so that particular match has at least been built very well and I’m suitably excited for it.

The Dudley Boyz are due to defend their ECW Tag Titles at the pay per view, but challengers have yet to be officially confirmed (Although Balls and Axl were mentioned a couple of weeks back before the line-up became somewhat more ambiguous) so maybe we’ll find out who they are supposed to be facing this week?

And there’s also the small fact of ECW Champ Taz being steaming mad at Chris Candido duping him and laying him out a couple of weeks ago in Queens, so maybe we’ll see him attempt to gain some retribution ahead of his title defence to Candido at Hardcore Heaven?

So with the stage set, let’s waste no more time and dive into another exciting week of EXTREME action!

Read moreMike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #316 – 15/05/1999

Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #314 – 01/05/1999

Pinch, punch, beginning of the month!

Hello You, and welcome back for some more ECW Hardcore TV action!

We are just two weeks away from Hardcore Heaven 1999 on the 16th of May 1999 and most of the card hasn’t even been announced yet, because poor forward planning is EXTREME I guess. Thus far we know its Rob Van Dam Vs Jerry Lynn for the TV Title and not much else. Maybe this week we’ll finally see the show start to take shape?

So without further ado, let’s take another journey to The Extreme, and see if Paul Heyman can start putting this pay per view together.

Read moreMike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #314 – 01/05/1999

Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #313 – 24/04/1999

Back again with some more ECW action, as we continue the build to Hardcore Heaven on the 16th of May 1999. Last week we saw Justin Credible lose to Shane Douglas in the main event, only for he and partner Lance Storm to leave “The Franchise” lying when all was said and done.

However, despite laying the faces out more than once, Storm and Credible are yet to actually win a particularly big match yet, as they always seem to fail when the chips are down only to then do a beat down to “get their head back”.

Of course, it’s kind of hard to get your heat back if you never had any real heat to begin with, and that’s certainly the issue with Storm and Credible so far in this run. Despite getting plenty of TV time, they’ve yet to really gain any traction because they keep losing matches.

It could be that we’re building for the big win for them, but that’s a totally arse backwards way of booking. Usually you’d give the heel some wins at the START of a feud to heat them up and then maybe have the face win the blow off when the heel was all good and hot. However, we seem to be getting the opposite here, with the faces winning a lot, thus cooling the heels off with the intention of them winning the blow off to heat them up again, which is just….weird.

Anyway, let’s see what ECW has in store for us as we once again take things to The Extreme!!!

Read moreMike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #313 – 24/04/1999

Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #312 – 17/04/1999

Last week was the first night of matches taped at Cyber Slam 1999, ECW’s annual big internet fan convention. This week is the second lot of matches, featuring a main event of Shane Douglas taking on the young upstart Justin Credible.

In addition to that, we’ve also got Jerry Lynn, Yoshihiro Tajiri and Super Crazy all in action this week, so there should be plenty of good in ring action for you all to get your dentures into.

So without further ado, let’s take it to The Extreme!

Read moreMike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #312 – 17/04/1999

Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #311 – 10/04/1999

A day late and a quid short, but it’s here. I hope you all had fun over Mania weekend but now it’s time to get back to the grind as they say, with more ECW action from 1999. This would be the first week of action taped at Cyber Slam 99, an annual internet wrestling convention that was traditionally ECW’s biggest non-pay per view event of the year.

I’ve actually got the full show on DVD and it’s a real corker, so hopefully the next two weeks of TV should be action packed and exciting. So, without further ado, let’s head to the Bingo Hall in Philly and take it to The Extreme!!!

Read moreMike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #311 – 10/04/1999

Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #310 – 03/04/1999

Last week’s episode was more of a recap for Living Dangerously, so this week we should start to see some advancement in the stories, possibly with an eye to setting up matches for Hardcore Heaven on the 16th of May 1999.

So without further ado, let’s take it once again to The EXTREME!!!

Read moreMike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #310 – 03/04/1999

Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #309 – 27/03/1999

So with Living Dangerously 99 in the books, it’s time to see where ECW will go with their next pay per view event scheduled for the 16th of May 1999. Living Dangerously ended with Taz unifying the ECW and FTW Titles to become the undisputed ECW World Champion. The question is who will be the next wrestler to challenge him? Maybe we’ll get some clues on this show?

So without further ado, let’s take it to the Extreme!

Read moreMike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #309 – 27/03/1999

Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #305 – 27/02/99

Yes we hop once again into the way back machine twenty years to the day for yet another review of ECW Hardcore TV, as we continue the build towards Living Dangerously on the 21st of March 1999.

Last week we viewed the first hour of footage taped from Crossing the Line 99, and we’ll finish that off this week.

So without further ado, let’s get to it!

Read moreMike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #305 – 27/02/99

What the World Was Reading: WOW Magazine – July 1999

by Logan Scisco


This week we leave the confines of Titan Towers and head
over to Bill Apter’s side of the wrestling magazine universe.  Launched in 1999, WOW Magazine was an alternative to other wrestling magazines, which
largely kept kayfabe alive.  WOW catered to smart fans, using the
terminology of “face” and “heel,” and even tried to smarten up younger fans by
providing a vocabulary list of “smart wrestling terms.”  WOW also
featured more color photographs, had more pages, and was larger than
traditional wrestling magazines. 
Unfortunately, the magazine did not produce enough sales to remain
profitable and it folded in the summer of 2001.

The magazine chosen for this week’s review is the July
1999 edition of WOW, just the third
issue of the magazine to hit newsstands. 
I remember buying this edition on a school field trip when we went to a
mall for lunch.  Going over to one of the
bookstores, I picked out the magazine.  I
really enjoyed WOW since it was much
more detailed and fun than WWF Magazine,
but there was no way my parents were going to purchase a second wrestling
magazine subscription for me.  So, the
only time that I was able to buy WOW
is when I cobbled together enough money on my own, made even harder by the fact
that I did not receive an allowance.
 Looking back, I may have purchased this magazine (which
the sticker says cost me $5.95 before tax) more for what is on the back than
the cover.  I was a big Dawn Marie fan
and loved her stuff in ECW.
 Immediately upon opening the magazine, which has a
foldout cover, we get some of the colorful pictures of WOW.  One is of an unmasked
Rey Mysterio, Jr., another of Sabu, and then of course the guy that helped
destroy ECW
In his first editorial, Editor-in-Chief Bill Apter lets
us know in his “Apter Thoughts” column that he is glad to be publishing a
smart-style magazine.  He says that he is
tired of “protecting the business.”  He
also laments the death of Rick Rude, who had recently passed away from a heart
attack.  We get quite the contrast of
photos in the column as Nicole Bass chokes out Apter in one shot and a young
Apter argues with Jesse Ventura in the image alongside it.  No word on whether Bass filed harassment charges against Apter at a future date.
Every magazine has to have a “Letters to the Editor”
section and WOW was no
different.  This month’s issue sees
William Zariske criticize Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair for taking up the spotlight
and not following other pursuits. 
Another fan, Frank Recchia, says that he admires technical wrestlers
like Dean Malenko and Curt Hennig, but they do not hold a candle to Lou Thesz
and Bruno Sammartino.  He notes that
Thesz and Bruno were superior because they “could hold a title for a year or
more, which rarely happens today.”  And
all those signs you used to see in the 1990s at wrestling events?  Well, James Reddyk of Peterborough, Ontario
is angry about them because he was not able to see the action from his close
seats at SkyDome for at a WWF event because of them.  He demands the WWF do something about
this.  I am sure Mr. Reddyk loves
attending live events these days, when there is hardly a sign to be seen.  There are also a few fans that praise the
magazine for being different, especially because it had a website, which many
other publications did not have in the late 1990s.  One fan comments that the Internet is the
future of the sport because there are “thousands of e-feds and fantasy
wrestling sites.”  Are there even more
than 1,000 operating today?
Blake Norton’s column “The Welcome Mat” praises Diamond
Dallas Page for becoming WCW World Champion, something I think was a sign of
the company’s decline because Page was nowhere near as over as he was when he
faced Goldberg at Halloween Havoc the previous year.  Norton blasts fans who fear that Kevin Nash
is about to give himself another title run and sends a shout out to Davey Boy
Smith, who was facing a career-ending back injury at the time after falling on
a trap door at Fall Brawl.  He also
criticizes the WWF for becoming more of a soap opera than a wrestling
product.  Lord only knows what Norton
would think the company has become today.
A review is provided of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Professional Wrestling.  The book is praised for providing some of
wrestling’s history.  For example, it
discusses how carnivals of the nineteenth century were the origins of the sport
and how a champion wrestler would take on all comers.  This led to the rise of men such as Toots
Mondt and Frank Gotch who knew various holds to submit all kinds of opponents
in shoot fights.  The book ultimately
receives a recommendation, but educated fans are told that they do not really
need it.  An interesting tidbit?  Gorgeous George ran for president in 1952.
The cover story of this issue concerns the Rock’s rise to
the top of the wrestling industry, or as Jim Varsallone calls it, “the sports
entertainment business.”
The article recaps the Rock’s family history, which
readers of this site are likely familiar with. 
However, for a smart magazine this piece is still filled with kayfabe,
as the Rock is quoted as saying that he initially turned heel over the “Rocky
Sucks” chants and that he joined the Nation of Domination because he could
“express himself.”  Varsallone even
posits that the Nation collapsed because the Rock and Faarooq could not get
along since they came from Miami and Florida State!  If you want some facts about the Rock’s
football career, though, this piece has you covered, meaning that Jim Ross
bought this issue when it hits newsstands. 
It closes by saying that the Rock is not bothered by kids watching an
adult-oriented RAW product because their parents have to monitor what they are
doing.  I should also point out here that
Apter mags traditionally never interviewed wrestlers and made up quotes (WWF Magazine did much of the same thing
before Vince Russo came aboard), so whether the Rock was actually interviewed
for this piece or not is open for debate.
And in case the Ultimate Warrior’s odd comic books were
not enough for you, you could have bought some $3 comic books about the
Undertaker in 1999!
The next piece provides a career recap of “Ravishing”
Rick Rude, who passed away on April 20, 1999 at the age of forty.
At the time, Rude was training for an in-ring comeback,
presumably to return to the WWF since he was trying to get out of his contract
with WCW.  Written by Dave Meltzer, it is
a fine article that recaps Rude’s Tough Man days and his eventual wrestling
career in the major promotions.  These
articles are where I learned wrestling terminology as terms such as “booker,”
“heat,” and “promo” are thrown in.  We
can laugh now at fans not knowing those terms, but back then Meltzer might as
well have been speaking Latin to me.  One
of the sad things about these magazines is you come across pictures of people
no longer with us, such as this one, where Ric Flair is the only person in it
that is still alive:
WOW was also
really good about following non-major promotions in North America and Richard
Berger’s article talks about the relaunch of Stampede Wrestling in Calgary in
early April 1999. 
Bruce and Ross Hart were behind the idea and the
relaunched product lasted until 2008. 
The first card documented here drew nearly 2,000 fans and there is some
unintentional humor when it documents the statements fans were making before
the opening bell such as “Tatanka is in the main event!”  For some reason I think that fan probably
said that without much enthusiasm.  The
show was indeed headlined by Tatanka, the North American Heavyweight Champion,
who went on to defeat Jason “The Sledgehammer” Neidhart in a two-out-of-three
falls match.
Since Steve Austin was also on the cover, he is also
profiled in an article with some nice art. 
It just recaps Austin’s career, but does have some words of wisdom:  “…make sure to enjoy [Steve Austin] while he
is around, because no matter how many people try to copy him, they will never
even come close to the main himself.” 
Hence, the WWE’s inability to recreate the magic of Austin-McMahon
despite rotating various people out of Austin’s role over the last two decades.
We then get some WCW news, which includes results from TV
tapings and house shows.
There is a discussion of the severity of the British
Bulldog’s back injury, which is reported as career ending per the orders of his
doctors.  The Bulldog had recently been fired
from WCW.  It would have been better for
the Bulldog’s health to stay retired, as his 1999 run back in the WWF did very
little for him or his career legacy. 
Bischoff is commented as making an allusion to the Bulldog’s drug
problems, quoted in a “WCW Live” report on WCW.com as saying that prior to his
termination that the Bulldog “has had problems in a number of different areas
in his life.”  It is also reported that
WCW is looking into creating a Hardcore division, which it eventually did.  I always saw that as a poor move since it
came off as WCW blatantly copying a WWF idea. 
At least it gave us Screamin’ Norman Smiley.  Oh, and at a house show in Tampa, Florida,
Jimmy Hart beat Bubba the Love Sponge by disqualification when Randy Savage
accidentally hit Hart.
Konnan is the subject of an interview piece in this issue
of the magazine.
He takes a dig at WCW, saying that guaranteed income
makes guys reluctant to work while injured or put on good matches.  He also criticizes the politics of the
company, which he feels are holding him back. 
One of the best points of the interview, which is of a shoot style, is
Konnan referencing how spending time at basketball courts, youth hangouts, and
watching television made him aware of pop culture phenomenon and helped him
stay current.  It is a vision that is
sorely lacking in today’s wrestling product. 
And what would an Apter mag be like without
rankings?  Here are WOW’s rankings of WCW for the spring of 1999.  It simply evaluates the top ten men on the
roster, with no regard for their championship status.  I have a hard time buying Rey Mysterio as #1
at this time, but his defeat of Kidman, who is ranked #2, is the justification
given for him having the top spot.  The
rankings are critical of the WCW’s booking of Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko,
saying that the confusion over whether they “were heels or faces killed their
momentum.”
Blake Norton’s next column highlights some of the
concerns pervading WCW in 1999 and boy is it spot-on. 
It talks of Eric Bischoff’s tenuous position in the company
and how the booking power of Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash spells trouble.  Also highlighted are WCW’s declining ratings
relative to the WWF.  The resurrection of
the tag division is criticized for only creating “makeshift tag teams” such as
Kidman and Chavo Guerrero and Bobby Duncum and Mike Enos as is the company’s
decision to make Barry Windham and Curt Hennig their new champions instead of
Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit.  However,
some bright spots are highlighted, such as the cruiserweight division having
better matches and the spotlight going less to authority angles.
The great thing about 1999 was that you had three
prominent wrestling promotions getting coverage, so ECW gets a section of the
magazine, albeit smaller than WCW and the WWF. 
We are told that Chris Candido may have reinjured his neck against Taz
at Cyberslam 1999 and that Nova has returned to the tag team ranks with Chris
Chetti.  Here are the ECW rankings:
Hard to say that Taz was not the #1 ECW wrestler in early
1999 with Rob Van Dam as the clear #2. 
They would eventually fight at November to Remember when Taz was headed
out of the company.  We are told that Taz
puts fans into ‘mark’ mode when he makes his entrance.
The ECW Insider column discusses how other companies are
trying to imitate ECW’s hardcore style. 
In one of my favorite digs in the magazine it says that “In the G-rated
WCW, somewhere in between ‘Days of NWO Lives,’ Nash-friendly-booking, and the
5,278,189th showing of Konnan’s video, Bam Bam Bigelow calls himself
the ‘king of hardcore.’”  It laments that
if WCW gets a Hardcore title that it will just put it on the Booty Man.  It also predicts that imitations of ECW will
not hurt the company’s viewership, which might have been true, but it was never
able to use its hardcore status to overtake the other big two wrestling
promotions.
The WWF news and notes makes us aware that a whole lot of
people were given their pink slips on April 13. 
This included Golga, Blue Meanie, and Gillberg.  Evidently, Meanie was rehired back a day later
because of an online “Save the Meanie” campaign, which I vaguely remember.  There are also rumors that Steve Blackman is
going to get a more Attitude-style gimmick and that the Legion of Doom are
hankering for one last run.  Thank god
that did not happen.  A Triple H-Rock
feud is discussed for the summer, as well as yet another Austin-Undertaker
feud.  So, WOW will bash WCW at will, but no jabs at the WWF for returning to
that feud?  Ken Shamrock is also rumored
to be a possible contender for Austin’s title, but he was shunted down the card
throughout 1999.
Here are the WWF rankings:
Owen Hart makes his last appearance in the rankings at
#6.  His excerpt talks about how he and
Jarrett are going to go “full heel” soon by splitting with Debra.  The Undertaker receives some criticism for
“uninspiring” matches recently against the Big Bossman and Ken Shamrock.  It questions whether the WWF will shelve the
Undertaker persona for good, which ended up coming to fruition at Judgment Day
the following year when the Undertaker appeared in his American Badass gimmick.
Backlash and Spring Stampede are given smark-style recaps
by Blake Norton.  They do not provide
star ratings, but it does break down the story each match tried to tell and
crowd reaction.  Backlash is criticized
for being mediocre, while Spring Stampede is called “a terrific pay-per-view
event.”  I liked these recaps much more
than WWF Magazine, which really
stopped caring about them at this point
A summary of ECW’s Cyberslam is provided, especially its
event for fans at the Holiday Inn. 
Justin Credible tells author Brad Perkins that he loves
ECW because “there’s no one better to book Justin Credible than Paul
Heyman.”  I cannot say that I disagree,
especially when the alternative is Aldo Montoya.  Taz has some good foreshadowing, telling a
fan that even though the WWF or WCW would give him a fresh start they would not
push him as hard as ECW has.
Another interview piece is provided in the magazine, this
time with New Jack
New Jack lets us know that he never had any professional
training and discusses his former career as a bounty hunter.  Teaming New Jack and Steve Blackman up to
rope in criminals would be quite the show for WWE Network.  He also has some stories of giving back to
fans, such as calling fans who give him their number or meeting kids after shows.  He also trashes parts of ECW, saying that it
is just as corrupt and political as the WWF and WCW.  New Jack indicates his desire to get into
movies, thereby ending his wrestling career, but that never came to fruition.
In happier news, we are told of Hacksaw Jim Duggan
recovering from kidney cancer.  A simple
career recap is provided for fans who may not be aware of his football prowess
and wrestling accomplishments in the 1980s.
WOW also had a
regular trivia feature.  If you click on
the image it should magnify it for you and you can see how many you can get
correct.  The answers are on the bottom
(upside down) of each section of the quiz.
Other random news and rumors are provided, letting us
know that Torrie Wilson is leaving WCW due to the fact that she was not given
more creative control over her character. 
It also informs us that Shawn Michaels has married the Nitro Girl
Whisper.  It questions whether that
marriage will last, but thankfully for both of them it did and it was probably
a big part in why Michaels did not die of a drug overdose in this period.  Kevin Nash is also identified for bringing Madusa
back to WCW.
We get an interview with Frye of the Nitro Girls.  If you have no idea who this is, here’s a
photo:
We are told that the Nitro Girls were not professional
dancers and selected from different backgrounds.  Frye was just “athletic” when she was picked
out for the team.  She says she was not a
wrestling fan before coming to WCW.  She
is also excited about the Nitro Girls possibly being in some storylines in
2000.  Skepticism is expressed about the
Shawn Michaels-Whisper marriage because they knew each other for only thirty
days before getting married.  Frye’s
dream is for the Nitro Girls to “explode like the Spice Girls.”
The magazine also provided lots of “Bombshell
photos.”  I remember when I saw the one
of Tammy Sytch in this magazine that she was in bad shape contrary to a slogan
that says she is getting better:
The “Indies and International” section informs us that
Vader recently won the 19th Champion Carnival on April 16, defeating
Kenta Kobashi.  This made Vader the first
American to win the tournament since Stan Hansen in 1993.  It also lets us know that Mitsuharu Misawa is
taking over the booking for All Japan following the death of Giant Baba.  All Pro Wrestling, run by Roland Alexander,
is profiled, with stars such as Vic Grimes and Michael Modest profiled.  APW was featured in Beyond the Mat.  Grimes is
dubbed as a “future WWF star.”  If you
can find his tryout match on YouTube it worth a look as he and a smaller
opponent tear the house down.
WOW could also
have some fun.  Its “Ring-Zingers” column
highlighted some of the funnier parodies about wrestling from ScoopTHIS.com.
The best story is how Sting has taken a vow of poverty
after finding religion.  Little did WOW know that Sting would find religion
and enact his vow of poverty by wrestling in front of high school gyms and
empty baseball stadiums more than a decade later.  The piece says that Sting has given his
fortune away to the less fortunate “beginning with the Disco Inferno, who has
since put away his run-down 1970s clothing in favor of the more contemporary
khaki cargo pants and loose-fitting shirt.”
Other funny stories talk about ECW wrestlers nearly
revolting at Paul Heyman’s Philadelphia office after they found out wrestling
was fake on NBC and how hundreds of WWF fans were injured “in what’s been
called the worst wrestling disaster since the return of the Ultimate Warrior”
in a fire in San Francisco.  Evidently, a
fan’s sign that said “Debra Has Tasty Cakes” caught on fire after Kane’s pyro
and spread through the sea of other signs in the arena.  During the fire, Mick Foley and Terry Funk
jumped into the flames and rolled around in glee, each suffering a third degree
burn.  Ron Simmons also turned in his
resignation after the Undertaker’s symbol caught on fire.  After Steve Austin could not douse the flames
with beer, Jeff Jarrett and Tiger Ali came down to the ring, which really
cooled things down.
Another parody piece pits a “fantasy match” of the
Ultimate Warrior against Mankind, simulated with a Dude Love and Rey Mysterio,
Jr. action figure.
Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone do the commentary on the
pages of the magazine and the Warrior keeps disappearing during the match,
frustrating Mankind.  Mr. Socko turns on
Mankind, sporting its own “One Warrior Nation” t-shirt, but Mankind rebounds by
pulling out a can of Chef Boyardee and shoving it in the Warrior’s face.  The newly fattened Warrior cannot make it
through the trap door anymore and the Undertaker proceeds to do a run-in,
although he takes his time and Ross and Schiavone argue over whether the
Undertaker’s symbol is a cross, even after Mankind is nailed to it.  This read like a fantasy booking scenario
gone awry.
Finally, Dutch Mantel’s column “The World According to Dutch”
closes out the magazine.  He shills his Dirty Dutch’s Little Handbook for Wrestling
Junkies
, which will be autographed and have some “special clip art of
wrestlers” for $20.  You have to pay with
a money order, though.  He also gives his
list of the top five bleeders in professional wrestling.  It is no surprise who is #1 on the list:

Overall, this was a very detailed and fun magazine.  It did a much better job shedding light on
what was happening in the wrestling world in the spring of 1999 than any other
wrestling magazine on the market.  For
next time, I will review the first edition of RAW Magazine.  I figured that
during this cold winter we could all use some “Sunny days.”