Princess Extended Rant: Bad Asses

Doing this one by request and it’s fine because it was a fun discussion.

I have 2 or 3 more of these I will do before starting the Wrestlemania project, which will include a review of the “The True Story of Wrestlemania”, which is a very good documentary in a lot of ways.

I picked three matches to review from this discussion. One I got more than I expected and the other I was hoping for a chance to rate five stars but it never got there.

I’m also guessing the Iron Sheik is pissed he wasn’t mentioned in this discussion and promises to make some guys humble as a result.

Bad Asses

Your panel is Jim Ross, Michael Hayes, Mick Foley, Tazz and Pat Patterson

Ross explains the two categories of Bad Asses, either the guys you just didn’t want to mess with at a bar or the guys with a strong amateur fighting background that could put you to sleep. And of course there are guys, and they mention Mad Dog Vachon, as guys who combined both.

Patterson said he’s never seen a guy tougher than Vachon in or out of the ring. Hayes said people that messed with him did so because he was just 5-foot-8, which allows Tazz to chime in on behalf of short people. Foley talks about how the old school wrestlers were much tougher and we chose based on their real fighting ability and were almost pushed to fight out in the streets. Ross said the flip side was if you lost a bar fight, you were generally pushed out of the territory. Hayes said that the local bar people who thought they were hot shit didn’t have the same mentality as the wrestlers, who would do anything to win a fight even if it meant gauging an eye out.

Speaking of which Patterson brings up Haku, whose bad assed-ness is legendary among fans and workers (there are a million YouTube snippets of guys talking about him. Even the tough guys like “Dr. D” David Schultz didn’t want to get on his bad side. Tama has a hilarious story about Haku beating up Brutus Beefcake and Hogan having to come in and beg him to stop). Patterson also said that Kurt Angle could put a hurting on someone if necessary (Well he was a fucking Olympic gold medal wrestler). Tazz says that a bad ass can also be a guy that can take a beating and mentions Foley, who sadly isn’t on the list. Tazz talks about Gpysy Joe as says he was one of the toughest wrestlers he ever knew. Hayes then mentions how big of a stooge he is which brings laughter.

Back to Haku and Ross says that the Samoan guys in general are all extremely tough going from Afa and Sika forward. Ross said back when the fans were rabid and brought weapons to the cards in those houses in the deep south territories the Samoans still had no fear. Patterson said the Samoans were great guys but once they got into a fight good luck at pulling them off. Foley said the Samoans guys all had legendary stories including the Barbarian and Foley said the only guy he feared was his wife. They talk about Peter Maivia too and Patterson said he was nothing compared to his wife. He relayed a story of the couple getting arrested in San Francisco and within no time the station was surrounded by Samoans that stayed them until the couple was released without incident.

Foley talks about Mr. Saito throwing policemen around and Ross makes a crack of how many cigarettes and Ken Patera used to smoke while in jail cells. Tazz tells the story about the McDonald’s incident. Foley amends it to say that he heard Patera and Saito were nice at first but the worker denied them service and overplayed his hand so Patera allegedly threw a rock thru the window and the fracas begin with Patera and Saito generally beating the fuck out of the cops for a while under order was restored and both guys spent a year and a half in the slammer.

Next the fellas talk about Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen and their great history of beating the hell random folks in bars. Tazz said his character was booked to be a bad ass in ECW and because it was he basically wrestled and went straight back to the hotel to avoid confrontation (I’ve met Tazz a few times and he’s an extremely nice guy so I understand his point. You never know what you could get into). Hayes said Brody was a bad ass in the ring and you knew you were going to get potatoed a few times if you were booked on a card with him.

Highlights of Bruiser Brody kicking the crap out of Abdullah the Butcher from World Class. (His death is still one of the most disgusting things in history. Not wrestling history but human history. I can’t believe the guy that killed him just continued to wrestle and book without incident. Even worse workers that knew Brody and were cool with him still worked under this guy. Tony Atlas, who wasn’t particularly friendly with Brody has the most definitive comments in my eyes. Personally I believe it was a total setup by Invader #1 and Carlos Colon. They intended to kill him that night and they backed each others stories up and both can burn in hell).

Ross says there are three levels of bad asses, the guys that work and go home, the ones that go to the bars and hope for trouble and the amateur studs that want to be left alone and will respect you if you respect them. Foley has a story about Angle from when he fought Tazz at the Royal Rumble and he goes to Foley and said “hey, what do I do if Tazz tries to test me?” and they all start laughing. Foley explains to Angle that he seriously doubts that would happen and Tazz is just thankful Angle didn’t have a flashback from the Olympics or something. Foley said that Angle was still new and innocent to the business and even though he could obviously handle himself he wasn’t sure what was proper protocol if such a situation came about. They talk about the Lesnar-Angle Ironman while Tazz talks about their competitiveness between the two when the three of them rode together.

Back to Brody, Hayes says that the bottom line was when you wrestled Brody bitching about him being stiff was a pointless exercise. Hayes says that one night when World Class and Joe Blanchard’s southwest wrestling indy ran in San Antonio the same night Brody suggested they meet Blanchard’s group at a location and kick their ass. Now of course Buzz Sawyer and The Road Warriors are with the Mid-Atlantic group working with Blanchard that night and Hayes is like…”ummmm, maybe that’s not the best idea and convinces them to go drinking instead.” (Hayes was definitely not a bad ass and proud to admit it in this discussion but imagine Sawyer and the Warriors randomly running into Brody and like Terry Gordy, that shit would get ugly).

Ross talks about Harley Race and how he was brought up on beating people up legitimately. When asked who was tougher between Race and Brody, Ross says it’s like choosing to die by a handgun or a rifle (great line). Foley talks about the legend of Race’s left hand and Harley’s quote that “if I hit anyone with my left and they don’t go down, I will walk around them to see what’s holding them up.” Foley said Harley’s way of talking was bad ass in itself and relays a story about how he intimidated a physician in Maryland to make sure Foley’s injury during a match was handled by the commission.

Highlights of a Race interview and yeah he definitely sounds like he will fuck you up bad.

Time for a match review.

Haku vs. Harley Race
Royal Rumble 1989 from The Summit in Houston, Texas
Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura

Nothing like killing two bad asses with one stone. This is the battle for the King crown from the first PPV Royal Rumble.

Race attacks Haku by tipping over his chair and sending him into the post. Into the ring we go and Race with a knee lift, a clothesline and a suplex for two. Race’s left-handed clothesline looks pretty bad here. Back to the floor and Haku sends Race into the post and drops him with a reverse knife edge. Back in the ring and Race with a headbutt low and an inverted atomic drop. Two elbow drops from Race get two but Haku is back with a reverse thrust kick and he roughs Race up in the corner. He gives Race a corner whip that sends him over the top rope. Race back up and Haku clothesline him back in the ring. Haku with some stiff shots and a headbutt. He pounds away but Race retaliates with a few headbutts and both guys start no selling them. Race with another clothesline and a piledriver but that only gets two. Wow. They knock heads, slowly, and Race oversells another tumble to the floor.

Haku suplexes Race back in the ring and gets two but misses a big elbow drop. Race with one of those left hands and a delayed vertical suplex for two. Race sends Haku to the floor and goes for a piledriver but Haku backdrops him to escape. Haku bangs Race head on the mat and then rams his back into the side of the ring. Race rallies and gets his piledriver on the floor but it was a little weak. Back in the ring, reverse neckbreaker from Race gets two. Race continues laying in the shots and his clothesline looks much better. Knee drop gets a two count. Slugfest that Haku wins and he beats up on Race in the corner for a bit. Scoop slam and he climbs to the top but misses the diving head butt. Race goes to the middle rope and he misses the swan dive headbutt. Both men back up and Race with a knee lift but he misses a rope move and Haku his sweet Tonga chin music for the pin.

(Haku def. Harley Race, pinfall, **3/4, a little slow but a good match and probably Harley’s last good one before he retired.)

*********

Tazz said that perception is reality and one of the things about Brody and Race is they looked the part. Tazz brings up Vader and says that even before he knew him he looked like a bad ass. They promise to get to Vader after a break but they don’t (probably because Shawn Michael made him cry after a match one time). Patterson talks about the Samoans again and says that every time he beat up Peter Maivia at the Cow Palace the Samoans would jump on him. One time Sika got hit over the head with a Billy club and basically no sold it.

Ross goes to Stu Hart and talks about Hart putting a hold on him and he was happy it was waist up because he was pissing on himself after a few minutes. Ross does a funny impression of Stu warning him before applying the hold. They talk about how Stu is always tries to grab guys when he talks to them and Patterson always had to keep himself away (yep even Patterson isn’t letting just any man grab him). Ross says he was arguably the baddest mofo in Canada and they go into the dungeon and Stu torturing the guys. They mention how much Stu enjoyed fucking up Superstar Billy Graham and they go through the great lineage of guys that came through the dungeon (WWE DVD idea! Best of the Dungeon! I know they did the Hart Foundation thing but the best of the dungeon graduates gives many more options. Unless they already have released one, in which case nevermind!).

Patterson randomly mentions some of the tough guys getting beat up in the bars because they started drinking and it’s hard to beat up someone when you’re drunk. Tazz asks about Angelo Mosca and asked Patterson if he was a bad as he looked. Patterson said he never saw it but he would never mess with him. Out of the ring Patterson said Mosca was a big teddy bear.

Foley mentions Exotic Adrian Street and they crack on his gimmick for a bit before Ross mentions that he’s actually married to his valet, Miss Linda. Ross talks about the great tough guys that come from England like Billy Robinson, William Regal and Hooker Heath. Foley shares a story of Street, or tries too, before going off track and talking about Downtown Bruno going through dirty clothes to get a pair of underwear. He gets back on track when talking about Street showing him the different levels of pain and he experienced a “10”. They talk about Fit Finlay and Regal both idolizing Street and Hayes adds that Miss Linda was tough as hell too.

Foley shares a story about a fight breaking out in Alabama and Miss Linda was the first wrestler in the ring. Foley is upset that the many times he talked to Street (and I believe he still has a wrestling school in northwest Florida) that he didn’t ask him to teach him some of those defense techniques. Ross mentions Luther Lindsey being a tough guy and Patterson talks about how difficult it was to escape his stretch holds.

Match Review Time

Billy Robinson vs. Abdullah The Butcher
From All Japan Pro Wrestling on Dec. 9, 1976
Announcers is a guy speaking in Japanese

Abby isn’t mentioned in the show but I don’t think there are people lining up to meet him in a dark alley either, unless they ordered take out from his Ribs and Chinese food joint in Atlanta. Right away Abby jumps on Robinson and takes the match to the floor where he roughs him up in a variety of ways, mostly dumping him on a ring table or sending him into the post. He doesn’t let Robinson get in the ring, hitting him with a headbutt every time he tries to enter. Back to the floor and Abby continues to send him into furniture. Finally Robinson is in the ring where Abby headbutts him…and sends him right back out of the ring. I love the fact that Abby has carved out like a 50-year career with maybe two or three wrestling moves of note. Robinson crawls back in the ring and Abby headbutts him again to send him out. Robinson tries to fight back, or at least defend himself, and he lands a couple of forearms. Abby drops him again with a headbutt. Robinson goes downstairs a few times and they trade forearms with Robinson getting the best of the exchange. Two drop kicks sends Abby to the floor. He grabs a chair but Robinson takes it away and hits Abby with it. He gives him a second chair shot and roughs him up on the floor. Abby tries to get back in the ring but Robinson hits a dropkick and follows him to the floor. They fight up the entrance way or rather Robinson fights and the bell rings as I’m guessing they chose to throw this one away.

(Robinson & Butcher fight to no contest. Not really worth rating as it was just a brawl to set up a longer match down the road.)

*********

Ross says the toughest guy he saw was, of course, Danny Hodge. Patterson said Hodge didn’t have the reputation but Ross said he didn’t need it. Ross shares a story of Hodge baiting a Louisiana hardware salesman into challenging his toughness. Hodge breaks a series a pliers and apples until the point of when the guy brings in the local arm wrestling champion (Hayes’ comment about did either one of them have any place to be is pretty funny). He tries to put a grip on Hodge and Hodge takes his best shot and Hodge returns the favor and turns the guy to tears. Hodge was both an Olympic wrestler and a champion boxer. Hodge has the amateur equivalent of the Heisman named after him. Patterson said Hodge still respected professional wrestling despite his shoot fighting background.

They talk about an amazing story about Hodge escaping a submerged car with some form of a broken neck and walking up the embankment to safety while holding his neck in place (huh? we have a winner folks!).

Patterson said that a lot of amateur guys tried pro wrestling but only a handful made it like Hodge, Jack Brisco, Kurt Angle, Pat O’Connor, etc.

Time for a match that I’ve never seen before.

Iron Man Match for the WWE Heavyweight Championship: Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar


Smackdown from September 18, 2003
Announcers are Michael Cole and Tazz.

This is the third in their set of classic encounters. Lesnar is the heel and Angle is something between a face and a non-heel. Angle sort of became the ultimate tweener about 2001 or so and just fought whoever was in the way. Funny thing about theme music, Kurt Angle’s music was giving to The Patriot back in 1997 and it seemed goofy for him, maybe a little overboard, but for Angle is was a perfect fit. Strange how those things work.

Lesnar jumps on Angle to start and chokes away in the corner. Corner whip from Lesnar and he follows in with a shoulder. Brock beals Angle from one corner to the another, Angle tries to rally by catching Brock coming in on a charge. Angle with a dropkick to the knee and a clothesline to take control. Angle with the belly to belly overhead suplex and Brock decides to take a breather. Brock fakes a knee injury to take control again and uses more power stuff on Angle but Angle comes back with three armdrags and Brock heads back to the floor. Brock grabs the steel steps but nothing comes from it. Lesnar doing some serious stalling right now and the crowd doesn’t appreciate it. Literally he’s wasted about four minutes here. Finally he baits Angle and gets a hangman. Brock jumps back in the ring and goes to the power stuff and the choking but Angle with another belly to belly and his clotheslines Lesnar back over the top. Lesnar grabs the knee again and does a better acting job this time. Angle follows Lesnar out and fights him on the floor. Angle sends Lesnar to the steel steps but Lesnar rallies and sends Angle into the side of the ring and a spinebuster into the post. Lesnar sends Angle into the ring and he grabs a chair. He absolutely DESTROYS Angle with the chair, giving Angle the first fall via disqualification.

After the 15 seconds rest, Angle is still in bad shape and Lesnar toys with the champion a little bit before hitting the F5 and evening the match at 1-1. After the 15 second rest Lesnar continues to toy with Angle and slaps on the angle lock with forces Angle to tap out take a 2-1 advantage with the falls. After a commercial break we’re back and Lesnar gives Angle a kitchen sink knee for a two count. During the break Lesnar hit an Angle slam but couldn’t get a pin. Lesnar whips Angle into the corner and follows in with a shoulder tackle. More ruff stuff in the corner, including a couple of headbutts. Brock tries another shoulder charge but Angle moves and tries to battle back. Flying forearm and three german suplexes from Angle, with him releasing on the third one. Lesnar uses leverage to send Angle to the floor, however. Lesnar sends Angle into the ring barricade and hits an F5 on the floor. Lesnar makes his way back in the ring but Angle is counted out and down 3-1.

After a commercial break we are back and Lesnar sends Angle to the floor with a back elbow. Back in the ring and Lesnar roughs up Angle in the corner before dropping a couple of elbows and getting a two count. Lesnar stays in control until Angle hits an Angle slam out of nowhere and closes the gap to 3-2 with a little more than 30 minutes remaining on the clock. Angle jumps on Lesnar right after the 15 second period and lands a leg drop. Snap suplex by Angle into a float over cover for two. Lesnar tries to rally but Angle dumps him on his head with a belly to back suplex. Angle pulls down the straps and goes for another angle slam but Lesnar counters into the F5 but Angle escapes that and slaps on the ankle lock. Lesnar rolls through and tries to send Angle into the official but Angle puts on the brakes, but Lesnar goes for the clothesline which Angle ducks and Brian Hebner takes FULL ON. Wow. Angle slam hits but there’s no ref so Brock goes low. He goes to the floor, grabs the title belt and absolutely wallops Angle with it. He awesomely tosses the ref into the position and gets his fourth fall. That was a great sequence. Commercial break.

We’re back with 25 minutes left and Angle pulls Lesnar to the floor and sends him to the steel steps. Time for a sense of urgency from the champion. He climbs to the top and hits an axe handle on Lensar to the floor (OH YEAH!). Back in the ring and Angle gets a near fall. Angle to the top again and he hits a beautiful missile drop kick for another near fall. Angle with a scoop slam and he goes for the moonsault which looks great but misses when Lesnar casually scoots out of the ring. Both men struggle to their feet, Lesnar misses a clothesline and Angle gets a rollup for two but Lesnar nails the clothesline on the second try. Ridiculous belly to belly suplex from Lesnar sends Angle across the ring and gets a near fall. Lesnar goes for a second belly to belly but Angle knocks him down and slaps on the ankle lock, Lesnar rolls through and sends Angle to the floor. Lesnar joins him on the floor and sends the champion into the steel steps. Back in the ring and Angle escapes the pinfall at two at we are down to 20 minutes. Lesnar grabs the steel steps but Angle hits a baseball slide and the move backfires on the challenge. Angle quickly rolls Brock into the ring and gets two near falls. Angle gets nasty with Lesnar in the corner, choking away. Running back elbow from Angle gets two. Commercial break.

During the break Brock hits a massive top-rope superplex and goes up 5 falls to 2 with just 14 minutes remaining. Both men on the floor and Lesnar sends Angle into the announce table. Lesnar tries to give Angle the F5 into the post but Angle escapes and gives Lesnar the move instead. Lesnar is banged up in both knees. Angle rolls Lesnar back in the ring. Texas cloverleaf from Angle and Lesnar fights to the ropes so Angle switches to the ankle lock and pulls Lesnar back to the center of the ring. Lesnar fights to the ropes again. Lesnar somehow pulls another F5 out of his ass but he can’t capitalize due to his bad knee and just gets a two count. Lesnar slowly climbs to the top but Angle springs up and meets him there with a top rope belly to belly for a three count with less than 10 minutes left. After the 15 second rest, Angle stomps a mudhole into Lesnar and walks it dry. Suplex by Angle and he pulls up his straps just to pull them down again, Angle slam attempt is thwarted and Brock hits a DDT for a super near fall. Seven minutes remaining. Slugfest and Angle wins but Lesnar with the belly to back suplex and a second one that’s even better as we approach the six minute mark. Third belly to back suplex takes us under six minutes. Lesnar goes for a fourth and Angle hits the suplex instead and a second one from the champion! Lesnar blocks another suplex attempt and tries to reverse but Angle rolls through and slaps on the ankle lock right in the center of the ring. Lesnar gets to the ropes twice but Angle pulls him off and gets the submission with four minutes left.

Angle down 5-4 with three and a half minutes left and Angle goes right back to the Angle lock but Lesnar escapes but Angle comes right back with an sort of an STF type of hold. Tazz says it’s a freestyle bow & arrow so I will defer to him. Lesnar rolls out of the ring and tries to escape so Angle slaps on the ankle lock on the outside as we are under two minutes. Lesnar escapes the ring again but Angle sends him into the steps. Back in the ring and Angle hits the triple…make that the quadruple german suplex and Lesnar hits a low blow with 30 seconds left as the crowd gets rabid but Angle with another ankle lock and the grapevine. We’re down to 10 seconds….5 seconds and Lesnar holds on as the bell rings and Lesnar wins the championship!

(Lesnar def. Angle, 5 falls to 4, ****1/4, they had to protect Lesnar for the first 35 minutes of the match and once they got past that point it was very good stuff with tons of high impact suplexes and submissions. Lesnar tried and using the heel tactics was a good way to tell the story but the fact is he didn’t have enough in his arsenal to go sixty minutes. Angle does this with Michaels in 2005 and it’s an easy ***** affair, their 30-minute version on RAW’s homecoming was damn close and you felt like they only pulled out half of what they could do.)

********

Tazz says that one of the difficulties of the transformation for shooters to pro wrestling is because it goes against everything they are taught as amateurs from giving up the body to showing no emotion. Ross said Shelton Benjamin is one of today’s bad asses; he was a national champion as a wrestler and a sprinter (which is off the charts in terms of athleticism. I ran track in college at a Division 1 program and there aren’t too many guys that could sprint and then wrestle heavyweight or much less sprint carrying that sort of weight). Ross said if Benjamin was brought up in the territory days he’d be much more polished and hungrier than he was perceived. They talked about the amateur guys who struggled with the performance part of the business like Brad Rheingans, who was a terrific shoot wrestler and a great trainer but didn’t have the charisma to make it big.

Ross talks about one of the current guys on the roster (at least when this was taped) that is a bad ass, The Undertaker. Ross says he’s as mentally tough as anyone around. Foley says he guarantees there aren’t many conversations in the dressing room wondering how tough the Undertaker is. Same with Stone Cold (Debra might disagree). Ross said both guys started in World Class as low-card guys and developed that toughness, developed the ability to withstand injuries. Patterson and Tazz talk about their love for the business and how long it took for them to get to the main card and all the shit they had to go through to get there. They all agree that anyone that spends any considerable time in the business has to have a real level of toughness. Hayes also says that beyond mental and physical toughness Undertaker had to deal with a lot of shit workers.

Foley said once Undertaker got in the ring with great workers people finally saw how good he was, Hayes mentions how good Undertaker-Batista was at Wrestlemania (I had it at ****, fabulous power match). They show highlights of that match. Ross said there’s no doubt that the Undertaker is a Hall of Famer and he had good matches with guys that were limited. Ross closes with saying that one of the great things about the business is being surrounded by so many talented workers with diverse levels of toughness. Fun discussion here and well worth seeking out.

Princess Extended Rant: Heat Seekers

I downloaded a few of these things and wanted something to get my ranting feet really planted before I do my Wrestlemania project in the near future. This year’s theme is gimmick matches and it will start with the Body Slam Challenge at Wrestlemania and go from there.

An “extended” rant is one where I take the subject and add in a couple of matches that were highlighted in the program and do reviews on those matches in full.

I hope you enjoy. I’m sure there are some spelling errors in here as I’ve been horribly distracted but I’ll read it later and make edits. I apologize ahead of time.

Legends of Wrestling: Heat Seekers

The panel for this episode is Jerry Lawler, Michael Hayes, Jim Ross, Mick Foley and Eric Bischoff

Ross and Lawler explain the term heat and says in this texture it’s people that have developed a reputation of being difficult to do business with. Hayes says they are “whiners, bitchers and complainers” so naturally Ross says naturally they should start with Michael Hayes.

Ross stays there was no coincidence that Hayes had a cup of coffee in Memphis, and one in the WWF and one in the AWA and says the Freebirds had success in World Class as they stayed there for about a year. Lawler decides to tell a story about burning Hayes’ hair after The Sheik taught him how to do a firethrow. This was Hayes’ first appearance in Memphis by the way. And Hayes’ response to the story is “you burnt my hair”. So they crack on Hayes’ hair for a minute. Hayes basically wanted a little extra money for almost losing that rug and Lawler says he went on a classic tirade and threatened to sue everything walking. Hayes said he made an extra $100 for his efforts and Ross responds “so you left there with a $125 that night.”

Hayes is next and mentions Lex Luger. He says he personally didn’t have an issue with Lex and they used to ride together because they both liked classic soul music. Hayes said Luger felt like he was better then the rest of the boys but says that he isn’t sure that Lex wasn’t responsible for guys getting treated better and getting some guarantees in their contracts.

Lawler mentions Lex’s football background and says that he never was really one of the boys. Hayes said that Lex did draw some money but he was set up for that by being a horseman and turning on them. He adds that the thought was that anyone could’ve drawn money in that situaton but Hayes disagrees with that and says that Lex brought something to the table. (I would agree with that, not everyone put in that position could draw but the people really bought Luger as a major threat.)

They show highlights of Luger-Flair from Bash 1988 (I gave it ****. They would have a couple better matches but this one was damn good and the ridiculous pop Luger got when the fans thought he won tells me that the NWA and Crockett missed the boat on that one for at least a quick title reign)

Bischoff and Hayes talk about Bischoff stealing Luger for Nitro and Bischoff said that they can agree that no one ever steals Lex, they just get burned by him. Bischoff says he didn’t interact with Lex much before he went into power but he saw how he treated people. When he walked in the room he gave everyone else the impression they didn’t matter.

(There is one clip here where Dillon is cutting a promo with Lex standing there and he randomly slaps the U.S. Title belt and then holds up the four fingers and it’s fucking hilarious. I don’t why but I have to watch it at least three times before moving on.)

Foley says that many of the “heat seekers” are going to be guys who weren’t brought up in the business and didn’t have the appreciation for the guys that paved the road. Bischoff goes one step farther and says that Lex was embarrassed at being called a wrestler. Bischoff says Sting convinced him to resign Lex and Bischoff said he gave him a ridiculous low-ball offer with the hopes he wouldn’t take it but he did and added that he never really got to the dollar amount he had when he was hot in the early 90s.

Foley comes to Luger’s defense a little and mentions that he and Sting let Foley work out free at their gym and also mentions the match with Flair at Wrestlewar ’90 and says Luger came with his working boots. He says that it happened with Steamboat as well and whenever you put Lex with the right guy he could work. Hayes agreed but says despite that Luger couldn’t get over being a pro wrestler and the stinch he felt for being considered that.

STOP.

Time for a match rant

NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger
Wrestlewar (2/25/90) from Greensboro Coliseum in Greenboro, N.C.
Hosted by Jim Ross and Terry Funk

Flair has Woman (R.I.P) in his corner. They introduce Sting first, with “Man Called Sting” dubbed over his generic guitar music. Sting looks awesomely late 80s/early 90s with the muscle shirt and the grey nut hugger workout shorts. Long story short this was Sting’s spot, Sting blew the fuck out of his knee at Clash XI or something during a run-in. Sting was placed on the shelf and Luger was the replacement and had to turn face as a result, ending an awesome heel run. They try to dub Luger’s music with his generic late 90s them instead of his more awesome late 80s music. But the dub messes up and the original music wins out. Hell yeah! No dubbing needed for Flair because he rules like that. Luger is the U.S. Champion at this point.

They have their little feel out process just to draw the fans in a little, after all we’ve got an hour time limit and you have to expect them to use at least 30 minutes of it. Luger with a headlock and Flair escapes. Time for a test of strength and you know this isn’t going to work out well for Flair. Shoulderblock sends Flair to the floor to discuss strategy with Woman. Flair tries a little psychology to get into Luger’s head and goes downstairs with a knee. Flair with a whip to the corner but Luger explodes out of it with a clothesline. Flair takes Woman and decides to go home but Luger picks him up and takes him back to the ring. Flair with a hangman but Luger no sells and…there’s something about Flair selling Luger’s poses that make me laugh. Luger goes to town on the champion and it’s press slam time. Flair definitely stalling like a champion, on the Memphis scale it rates about an 8.5 but Ross explains the method to his madness as it’s keeping Luger from getting into a flow. Flair goes low to gain a quick advantage but it’s press slam No. 2 and a cover but Flair is hugging the ropes. Flair does to the body again and hits the chop but Luger no sells and it’s press slam No. 3. Bearhug by Luger and it gets a couple of two counts before Flair goes to the eye and stops the Lex Express. Both guys struggle to their feet but Luger is there first and hits 10 corner punches as we get our first Flair flop. Luger beals Flair across the ring and goes for a running clothesline but Flair smartly ducks and Luger goes flying over the ropes.

Flair joins Luger on the floor and lays in his first bit of effective offensive as he sends Luger into the railing. The chops work this time around. Flair sends Luger into the ring and back out of the ring. Woman distracts the ref while Flair rams Luger into the railing again and does more dirty tricks. Flair keeps Luger on the floor but knocking him off the apron every time he tries to come back in. Luger back in the ring, snapmare from Flair and the classic knee drop. Another snapmare and a second knee drop gets two. Flair with a chop but Luger answers; he answers again and wins the slugfest but misses the corner charge. Flair works on the arm and cheats by using the ropes to make a hammerlock more painful than usual. Back to the hammerlock and using the ropes. Naturally the referee doesn’t see it but has suspicions. Flair back to the chops and then the arm but Luger back with a clothesline but Flair goes to the eye. Flair chokes Luger on the ropes and Woman adds in a cheap shot. Flair back with the hammerlock and Luger makes a fight of it to get the crowd back in things. Luger goes for the punch but the ref blocks it so Flair gets a cheap shot in. More rope choking and Woman with another cheap shot. Flair with more arm work and a knee drop on the arm. He tries for a rope-assisted pin but Luger kicks out. Flair corners Luger but Luger is pissed and just chokes the champion. Corner whip and Flair takes the ride up and over the top. Now Luger rams him into the railing and all of a sudden those chops ain’t working no more. Luger botches a sleeper but slaps it on and takes Flair to the ground. Two count but Flair’s foot is on the ropes.

Luger goes for a second sleeper but Flair counters with a back suplex. Flair goes to the apron and tries to suplex Luger to the floor but Luger suplexes him back in the ring and then posts his leg. Wow. Flair tries to go to the ropes but Luger drags him back. Luger tries to go for the figure four and butchers it horribly so Flair, the professional, rolls through and thankfully they don’t repeat the spot. They botch a double knockout shot (WTF is happening??) and don’t repeat that so Luger gets the powerslam for a near fall. Flair goes for a chop but Luger no sells, Flair goes for a flying forearm and just bounces off of Luger. Flair goes to the floor and back to the eyes. He’s sort of half-assedly selling the leg and just decides to give it up. Back in the ring, Flair’s hip toss is blocked, Luger with a backslide for a near fall. Luger with corner punches but Flair with a botched inverted atomic drop. I think it was supposed to be a missed move and Luger was to hit a clothesline but they were totally off in this match and Luger sells it, unless it was a legit hamstring injury. Fuck if I know. Flair actually hits a top-rope move which shocks the hell out of me and then he hits a second. This is like bizarro world. It gets a near fall. Flair with a beautiful double underhook suplex and a two count. Sleeper hold by Flair and Luger goes to his knees as we prep for the next big rally.

Luger answers the call and fights out of it, Flair with a roll up for two but Luger hits a clothesline and gets a near fall himself. Luger misses the big elbow drop and both men are down. Flair with a big chop and a kneebreaker. Flair goes for the leg and a second kneebreaker. Flair with a splash down on the leg and hits a knee drop on the leg. Figure four time and right away Flair grabs the ropes for leverage as Nick Patrick wonders why the top rope is shaking. Flair back to the ropes and gets two. Sting comes hobbling down to the ring to root Luger on and Luger turns it over but Flair turns it back and both men grabs the ropes. Sting hypes Luger up (COME ON!!!! KICK HIS YOU KNOW WHAT?!?!) and he slaps Luger. That woke him up. Chop is no sell, a trip into the railing is no sold and it’s business time baby. Powerslam on Flair but the champ goes to the eye and climbs the ropes, Luger tosses him across the ring. Clothesline city. Clothesline nation. Clothesline universe sends Flair over the top rope but you can’t win the match there so Luger suplexes him back in the ring for two. Another powerslam and it’s time for the Human Torture Rack. Instead Luger covers for two when Woman rakes his eye. Luger grabs Woman and Flair hits him and the referee with a knee. Luger no sells. Patrick not so lucky, however. Luger with a corner whip and catches Flair coming off the top with a clothesline and a cover but no referee. Luger with a superplex but no referee. The Andersons run in and Luger beats them up so now it’s torture rack time. The Andersons ponder coming back in the ring but they see a very vulnerable Sting and go on the attack so Luger drops Flair and beats up the Andersons while Patrick counts him out. Horseman beat down follows until the Steiners make a save. Luger was always booked like a chump, it had to be a rib.

(Flair def. Luger, countout, ***1/2, man they botched so much shit in this match. I am giving it the mandatory Flair vs. broomstick rating because it was entertaining enough but still on the low end of Flair-Luger matches. No excuse for it either as these two had just faced off at Starrcade 89 after taking a year off from each other. I think they did much better in the rematch at Capital Combat.)

********

Ross tries to get into trashing Buff Bagwell but Foley changes tracks with a funny Goldberg story and adds in a couple funny lines about DDP loving Santa Claus. Foley said he liked Goldberg. Lawler says he likes him too. Hayes says he was a nice guy away from the business and does a lot of good things for kids and pets. Within the business Goldberg was tough to deal with because he didn’t understand how good WCW made him look and how they protected him.

Highlights of Goldberg-Raven for the U.S. Title and there’s no doubt the crowd was into Goldberg huge. Match was decent as Raven did a great job of selling and carrying things. Let’s see how good it was.

U.S. Heavyweight Championship: Raven vs. Goldberg
Monday Nitro, April 20, 1999
Hosted by Tony Schiavone, Larry Zybysko and Mike Tenay

WCW brought in Michael Buffer for the announcements if you wanted to know how much they wanted people to buy into this one. Raven gets the first blow in and catches Goldberg on a corner charge and a dropkick. Raven sends Goldberg to the floor but Goldberg sends Raven into the railing twice and Raven goes straight into crazy bump mode. Goldeberg with his weirdo single leg roll through take down that makes no sense in turns of match flow. Goldberg with a high kick that sends Raven to the floor but he gets a chair there and goes to town. Drop-toe hold onto the chair by Raven and it gets two. More chair work as this is a Raven’s rules match. Sleeper hold turned into a chinlock by Raven as the crowd gets restless real fast (they were conditioned to 45-second matches). Goldberg fights out of the hold and into the corner. Raven with a corner whip and a corner clotheslines but Goldberg no sells and hits the spear. Wow the crowd pop was deafening. The flock attack and gets disposed of. Bye Kidman. Bye Sickboy, Here’s a spear for Horace and a jackhammer for Reese. Van Hammer didn’t make the bus I guess. Raven tries to leave but the fans drag him back in the ring. Spear and Jackhammer give Goldberg his first major title. If I remember this drew a huge rating, not as big as when WCW STUPIDLY gave away Goldberg-Hogan but whatever.

(Goldberg def. Raven, pinfall, **1/2, entertaining crap like I remember. Raven should have gotten a raise for his part.)

*********

Hayes said that Goldberg couldn’t get comfortable in a place where he wasn’t the top star and were around guys of equal or greater stature like Austin and Rock. Bischoff said he likes Goldberg but hated working with him and said that his lack of knowledge about the business made him paranoid and people around him (HMMMM, I wonder who) made it worse by getting in his ear.

They all like Goldberg outside of the business and blame Nash, Hall and Hogan and manipulating him. Ross said he came to the WWE thinking he would be cast at John Wayne and that wasn’t the case.

Lawler brings up Paul Heyman and Foley comes to his defense right away. Ross relays a rumor of Lawler breaking Heyman’s jaw during his time in Memphis because Heyman was so annoying. Lawler confirms it. (Proudly) He explains why, basically it was one of those huge Memphis drawn-out feuds with Lawler and Dundee and Austin Idol, etc. etc. It was built to a scaffold match (which brings out Jim Cornette comments) and Heyman, after weeks of promotion, flakes out because he’s scared of heights. Lawler waited a couple of days to punch him.

Foley liked him enough to be hurt when Heyman dissed him a few times backstage and called him a whore. Of course then Foley admits he returns for the money. No shit. Who doesn’t? Foley thought he was great in ECW and he gave the guys freedom to develop their talents, especially with their promos and credits his and Austin’s improvement on that. They compared him to Jim Jones (ouch) and said that he could make a speech that would motivate guys that weren’t making much money into doing crazy shit to their bodies.

Lawler said that Heyman got some heat for putting so much of the business out there on the internet while the rest of the old guard was trying to keep the magic behind the curtain (Bobby Heenan made similar points in his 2001 interview about the disclosure of the business ruining the future). Hayes said there was a method to Heyman’s madness and gives him credit for his way of protecting his less-than-stellar workers with really cool highlight videos of their matches, rather than the full matches, and he loved a me-against-the-world mentality.

And there are clips of some Heyman speech at the…I think the Manhattan Center or somewhere in New York.

Ross said Heyman’s us-against-the-world mentality was typical of most manipulators. Of course Ross admits that the WWE was cutting checks of Heyman to help ECW while Heyman was speaking to the boys that worked for him about the evils of the WWE. Love the irony there. Bischoff says that was part of the anti-establishment environment Heyman was creating. Foley said Heyman and ECW got Vince interested in the Attitude Era. But Hayes says it was more Shawn and HHH and, to an extent, the nWo over than ECW.

They get into a discussion about ECW and Foley said he had fun with him leaving and mentioned that while the ECW fans didn’t like the WWE, they respected Vince whereas they absolutely hated Bischoff and WCW.

Time for some Scott Hall bashing (which seems mean given his current state). Bischoff said he hated dealing with Hall backstage over anyone else. Bischoff talks about how the Hall-to-WCW stuff came about. DDP approached him and convinced him despite Bischoff’s concerns about what he heard in WWE (I totally don’t believe that. I think he jumped in feet first and he should have because that was a huge coup for WCW). Bischoff met Hall and laid the law down telling him what he’s heard and warning him not to bring the garbage to WCW because they didn’t need it and he was happy with where the promotion was at that point (I think he’s lying again unless “laid down the law” is an insider term for “treated to a nice dinner, an open bar tab and a wild night at the Gold Club). Bischoff said he was great at first but once things got off track it was bad. Hayes wonders if he’s a manic depressive. Ross said that Hall was fine his second time around but his tenure ended on that fateful plane ride.

Foley has a story about Hall and he approached Foley as he was entering the promotion. Hall bitched about the fed and told Foley that “you know if you bust your ass around here you might make 400 or so.” and Foley is like “$400.000!?!?!” which was more than he ever made. He didn’t appreciate Hall looking down on such a sum and remembered making $25 from the Jarretts for a night of work. Hayes said when Hall is doing well he’s a great guy and a great worker and fun to be around.

Lawler is sick of the bullshit and wants to talk about someone they all hate and have nothing nice to say. Enter Vince Russo. Hayes talks about Russo and Ferrara doing the “Oklahoma” thing and calls Russo an asshole. Ross said he’s worked with some real characters but hates Russo. He said the first time his children saw the Oklahoma skit they fell out of love with wrestling. First he was pissed they were watching Nitro (I was about to say).

(Now I have a very liberal sense of humor. And it takes a lot to offend me. So I didn’t have a problem with them lampooning Ross. On the surface the commentary parody was funny. Making fun of the Bell’s palsy wasn’t funny. Had Ferrara not smirched his face to mimic the ailment I would not have had a problem with it and I don’t think many other people would have.)

The panel asked if Oklahoma was worse than Vince doing a “Dr. Heiney” skit I don’t remember seeing. The punch line of that skit was Ross pulling his head out of his ass. He said that Oklahoma bothered him more because his kids were upset about it. Ross says that we’re all fair game in the end. Hayes and Foley disagree and Foley says some things are too mean and the fans don’t necessary want to see it. Hayes says that the nWo satire on Arn Anderson’s speech was meaner. Bischoff says he regrets it and it’s all mean spirited.

Bischoff does say that Vince does his weird stuff for entertainment whereas Russo did things because he had a personal axe to grind. Bischoff says he allowed it to happen and he shouldn’t have. He didn’t understand what Arn was going through and when he began to realize the extent of the injury it really bothered him that everything happened the way he did. Hayes says that Vince is just as willing to be part of the punchline as he is part of the joke. Bischoff says the weird irony of life is that Arn Anderson was the one to inform him that he had a segment where he was going to get shoved into Big Dick Johnson’s ass. Bischoff wasn’t cool with it but he realized he was paid to do and not to think. And when it came down to performing the act Arn talked Bischoff through the whole thing. (I didn’t fully do that story justice but it shows you how good of a guy Arn Anderson is.)

They talk about Bischoff’s comic stuff, like the Redneck series with Austin and that when Mae Young gave him a bronco buster during that bit she loaded her crotch with sardines (Holy shit, that’s disgusting). They crack on Bischoff’s follies a little more, completely going off track now. They go into a few Vince stories and say that you can blame everything on Vince and that allows Foley to do a book promo (A running gag in this series when Mick is on).

Ross wants to get to his Bagwell story and it’s about Buff’s mom, Judy, calling in sick for his son. Ross told her that he would love to talk to her again about anything other than her son because he’s a man and he need to handle his own business. He then told Buff at TV to never have his mom call again unless it’s to say Happy Birthday. Hayes reveals that Missy Hyatt brought Buff in the business (and surely sucked his dick too, looking at the panel I’d guess Lawler and Hayes probably got similar Missy treatment at some point through the years) and they all agreed they “liked” Missy Hyatt and Ross suggested they say something quick before she calls her lawyer. Hayes said that Eddie Gilbert should be involved in any such conversations and sadly he can’t be. And Ross says a death is an oddly appropriate way to end this episode.