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Enjoy these commentaries and insight about professional wrestling.
going to duck as a I say this butÖI was disappointed with
WrestleMania XX. I thought the card had so much
potential going in. There were so many matches I was looking
forward to. But something fell flat. Here's why:
tribute to Wahoo McDaniel
McDaniel's in-ring career is truly legendary. As Tully Blanchard says,
"Some guys could draw money in their little area... But Wahoo
McDaniel was a star everywhere he went." This is a multi-media
celebration of the legendary Wahoo McDaniel featuring video
clips of Wahoo in action. Listen to interviews with Joe
Blanchard, Tully Blanchard, Jack Brisco, Ivan
Koloff, and Superstar Billy Graham.
tribute to Johnny Valentine
multi-media celebration of the legendary Johnny Valentine
featuring video clips of Johnny in action. Listen to Real
Audio interviews with Lou
Thesz, Dory Funk Jr., Brian Blair, Larry
Matysik, Jose Lothario, Ivan Koloff, Buddy
Colt, Paul Jones, Joe Blanchard, Skandar
Akbar, Red Bastien, Killer Karl Kox, and Wahoo
McDaniel. Enjoy photos of Johnny in action and more. ..
By Paul Herzog
look at the 00s and beyond, one wrestler stands out as a
"savior" to classics wrestling fans...that
wrestler is Kurt Angle... more
and the XFL
There are some times
for everyone who writes for a living where the words donít
seem to flow from brain to fingers to the page.
Other times, one runs into a situation where there
are multiple topics, which are both solid ideas, and the
decision-making process is a difficult one.
For me, this is one of those latter situations.
So bear with me, cause weíre gonna talk about both....
Success or flop?
Iíve gone on the record as stating
that that XFL was a bad idea, a bad use of the money gained
from their IPO, and an eventual profit drain that will cause
shareholders to force WWFE to drop the league.
After one week, Iím a little more open-minded.
Iím not quite converted.
But Iím there enough to come up with three reasons
why I think the XFL will end up a long-term (anything longer
than three seasons) success...
stock in the McMahons as performers: Is this any way to run
wrestling may be my passion, but I pay the mortgage with a
company called Tellabs. Tellabs has been one of the leaders
in the telecommunications boomÖin fact; we were one of the
top 10 performing stocks of the 90s, along with household
names such as Microsoft, Dell, and Cisco Systems... The
World Wrestling Federation has to do the same activities
that Tellabs, Microsoft, or any other publicly traded
company does. However, it is unique in its product, and how
it presents itself.... more
for a Promotion
It was easy
for me to fall in love with NWA Eastern Championship
Wrestling when I first saw a tape of Ultra Clash back in
late 1993, but now, it looks like the renamed Extreme
Championship Wrestling ran their last scheduled shows last
Look at the PWI Top 20 for Y2K
of my favorites times of year to be a wrestling fanÖthis
yearís PWI 500 has been released, covering August of 1999
to August of 2000. I picked up a copy... and weíll start
with my thoughts on the Top 20... more
political advice, Johnny Valentine update and more
Lou Thesz - Six-time World heavyweight champion
trip to the International Wrestling Institute and Museum was
incredible...the best ever. Some of my dearest friends were
there and the support for the Museum is growing. Mostly, the
appreciation for the preservation of wrestling history is
being expressed. ..
Russo ran me off from WCW
the last several years, Iíve returned over and over to the
question, ďWhat would it take for me to stop watching
professional wrestling?Ē Over the last couple of weeks, I
think Iíve found it. It came from the man whom I should
have expected itíd come from, Vince
Russo. But the method behind the madness was something I
Tribute to Gordon Solie
celebration of the greatest wrestling announcer of all time.
In addition to a column dedicated to his legacy, enjoy audio
clips of Gordon at his best. ..
More blunders on Thunder
becoming a full-time member of the WrestlingClassics.com
family, I reviewed WCWís weekly Thunder broadcasts for
1wrestling.com, and itís associated Wrestling Lariat
old habits are hard to break, and as such, hereís some
thoughts that crossed my mind watching the 6/7 edition:..
ECW gambles future with TNN
the ECW show on TNN, Heyman blasted his own national
television outlet. Iíd love to tell you exactly what
Heyman said, but TNN muted it out and ran a crawl across the
bottom saying, ďPlease ignore this gentlemanís temper
tantrum.Ē I know that ECW is working an angle where they
play baby face and portray TNN as heels, but I donít know
if Network Officials understand the concept of working. And
if they do, they probably want to be Hulk Hogan-style baby
faces. In other words, itís doubtful if they want to take
bumps for Paul E....
The real reason David Arquette
was a bad idea
one thing for WCW to produce bad sport. Even if they
produced an amazing product week in and week out, they
wouldnít gain until the WWF does something to slip up.
Itís quite another for WCW to produce bad business. Itís
inexcusable, far more so than a scrawny gimmick actor
holding the World heavyweight championship...
Can we please table the tables?
Whether you cut it or not, pad underneath or not, thatís
real wood, and real things can go wrong. New Jack was an
incredibly lucky man when he overshot the bump at the ECW
Living Dangerously PPV. Fit Finlay almost lost a leg in a meaningless third-from-the-bottom
match on a WCW house show when he didnít go through clean.
How much longer until something like that, or worse, happens
on live TV, and thereís nothing that can be done to fix
it? The curve says it could any day now...
Celebrating the Career of Jumbo
Tsuruta will be remembered as a legend of Puroresu
forever, like Rikidozan, Giant Baba, and Antonio
Inoki by the wrestling fans. He had 3,329 matches in
Japan over 26 years. He won the AWA World heavyweight title,
United National heavyweight title (five times),
International heavyweight title (three times), Triple
Crown title (three times), International tag team title
(eight times), PWF World tag team title (two times), and
World Tag Team title (six times)...
in Korea; great museum in Iowa
Lou Thesz - Six-time World Heavyweight Champion
had been invited to serve as the commissioner of wrestling
in Korea and possibly China, so I needed to check it out.
Just because I will be 84 next week, I have no intention of
giving up my search for some acceptable professional
wrestling. And while the matches were not perfect, the main
event made me proud of both Wang Pyo Lee and Giant
International Wrestling Museum has even acquired the weights
and pulleys and heavy bag Joe Stecher used to train.
I have to admit, there is a bit too much Lou Thesz there. While
my original belt is in Japan, I had a duplicate made by a
jeweler. It is so damn beautiful and so exact; it puts a
lump in my throat. .... more
was a good time in Memphis, with the USWA v. SMW feud
reaching a hot point, and after an introductory period
trying to bring down Jerry
Lawler and Bill Dundee with a group of heels called the Legend Slayers, Brandon
became the Smoky Mountain sympathizer. He got to represent
main eventers in the area, like the Heavenly
Time Brian Lee and Tracy
Smothers. More important, when things didnít go as
planned, he was forced to learn to think on his feet.
Sometimes it went better than others...
Here's Who Was Really
Over in Chicago
toughest thing a booker has to do is to determine who can
carry a push. It's usually skewed to a certain extent by
backstage politics and personality conflicts. Other times,
like at the WCW Pay-Per-View in Chicago, the answers are
clear Ė if youíre willing to listen to the crowd...
of the Term "Worker"
vocabulary of professional wrestling has expanded out into
the dictionaries of casual fans, along with the nature of
the business, kayfabe (a key word in that dictionary), and
the general illusion of what you see being played out each
week on TV. ... In fact, there are some that are completely
misused, and none greater than "worker.".
Wrestler of the Century is no Contest
Lou Thesz - Six-time World Heavyweight Champion
would like to begin with is the man who would be my Wrestler
of the Century. For those who know me, this will not be
a surprise. When people tell me I was their hero when they
were kids I know what that means, and I am even more flattered.
This man was one of my heroes when I was a kid and my only
hero when I was an adult... more
Heel of "00s"
might be a little presumptuous after only three months,
but I've got a nomination for "Heel of the 00's", and his
name is Don Callis, better known today as ECW's Cyrus.
Difference between Wrestling and Sports Entertainment
I've been trying to figure
out exactly Sports Entertainment is recently, and what makes
it different than professional wrestling. After all, it
seems that most of us like the latter, but have varying
opinions about the former. My initial theory read something
curse of Tony Norris' Unfulfilled Potential
know the flat-footed jump from the floor to the apron that
X-Pac does? Moadib (Tony Norris) did that. You know that
big press slam that Steve Williams did? Moadib did that.
You know that huge flying shoulder tackle that Road Warrior
Animal did? Moadib did that. You know that picture-perfect
floating moonsault that 2 Cold Scorpio does? Moadib did
that ... more
of Cactus Jack
rare that we can actually appreciate the last days of an
athlete's career as we know they're happening ... more
CAC, the Museum, the Message Board and me
By Lou Thesz - Six-time World Heavyweight
the 11th of February, in Las Vegas, NV, I resigned as president
of the Cauliflower Alley Club. It has been a great 7 year
run, but I guess you could say I have the seven-year itch.
The itch is not to get away from the CAC, but to have time
to spend on raising money for the International Wrestling
Institute and Museum...
Look back at 1999 and toward 2000
By Lou Thesz - Six-time World Heavyweight
First, let me say, this
is not the beginning of a new millennium! We have to wait
a year for that. Y2K was only a dress rehearsal for the
discovers the Fountain of Youth
By Lou Thesz - Six-time World
St. Louis celebrated a Century of St.Louis
Sports this month. I was honored to be included with such greats as Stan Musial, Lou
Brock, Bob Gibson, Ozzie Smith, Red Schoendienst, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and too many more
to mention. The football players, soccer players, basketball players, tennis players,
swimmers, and Olympic athletes were represented. ... more
wrestling better as a sport than a business
By Lou Thesz - Six-time
World Heavyweight Champion
I never had any illusions that it was anything
but a business. As I said in my book, anytime you sell tickets, it is a business. However,
I preferred to see professional wrestling as it was in the gym and in public workouts.
Today, pro wrestling is a fantasy of vulgarity and violence and incorporates all the
negatives in our society today - gangs, concern only for number one, sex for individual
pleasure, and death. ... more
life and times of Jonathan Boyd
was one of the first bookers I ever worked with and one
of the oddest individuals I ever met in this business. Rather
than giving the typical chronological bio and "wasn't
he great" platitudes, here are some stories that demonstrate
what made this man unique, even in the context of the wrestling
business. ... more
Five wrestlers, Dory Funk Jr., Joe
Blanchard, the Bushwhackers and B. Brian Blair pay
tribute to Owen Hart by talking about what he was like in and out of the
ring. ... more
Styles Can't Play It Both Ways
Selling the product as a higher-quality alternative
to other professional wrestling groups has always been a marketing angle for ECW,
and that's fine. It's the "us vs. them" mentality that has worked for ECW during
its lean times, its growth periods, and most of the time in between. But in his
zealousness to keep that mentality alive, and his enthusiasm for the product, Styles has
often been glaringly forgetful. Some samples that come to mind over the past year or two.
The Price of Being a Wrestling Fan Just Got Higher
dies in his sleep Tuesday night. Rude would be 40 this year.
Chris Palacios remembers Rude and asks deeper questions
of the wrestling industry and its fans. ... more
An Exercise in
University released a study where they counted all the inappropriate acts in a year's
worth of Monday night RAW TV shows. If the school had wanted to count inappropriate acts,
I could have saved the taxpayers a lot of money. All they had to do to find inappropriate
acts was to walk across campus.... more
of Women's Wrestling
Internet gossip started when the rumor leaked that ECW's promoter, Paul Heyman, had
requested that Dawn Marie undergo breast augmentation surgery. Her
character, Tammy Lynn Sytch, isn't exactly flat-chested, but an increase
in cup size would make those catfights more appealing to a large percentage of the ECW
audience, and perhaps make it easier to portray her character.... more
Shohei Baba was
a Giant in and out of the ring
of the most universally respected figures in professional
wrestling history, Shohei "Giant" Baba,
passed away Jan. 31. Hisaharu Tanabe, the
leading authority on Japanese wrestling in America, discusses
Baba's legacy and speculates on the future of Japanese wrestling
in a Real Audio interview.Tanabe publishes the most respected
English-language Website in wrestling when it comes to the
history of Japanese wrestling. Also, comments from stars
that wrestled for Baba's All-Japan promotion. ... more
The Nature of
The World Wrestling Federation has sponsors that have been part of the "family"
for many years. Most of them make children's toys, candy bars, or video games, products
aimed at and marketed toward those under the age of 18. In the quest for ratings, the WWF
radically changed the focus of their programming, without regard of the focus of the
sponsors. Needless to say, folks like Milton-Bradley have voiced their displeasure,
because Monday Night Raw is no longer suitable for their target audience. Their arguments
may have a ring of truth to them, but they reveal a total lack of understanding with
regard to the wrestling business. Professional wrestling has always had one focus, as
should any business: making money.... more
was to professional wrestling what Pete Rozelle was to the
National Football League. The foundation for the success
enjoyed today by World Championship Wrestling and the World
Wrestling Federation can be attributed to Sam Muchnick's
leadership of the sport through three decades. It was a
leadership built on integrity, honest and credibility. Sam
Muchnick passed away Dec. 30, 1998 in St. Louis at the age
of 93.Sam Muchnick's legacy will live forever.... more
remembered by Joe Blanchard
Legendary St. Louis promoter and National Wrestling Alliance president Sam
Muchnick passed away on Dec. 30. In a Real Audio interview, Joe
Blanchard talks about his memories of Muchnick, what made Muchnick special as a
promoter and what he learned from Muchnick in creating his own promotion. Blanchard
starred on Muchnick's cards in St. Louis. Blanchard would later start his own successful
promotion in south Texas, Southwest Championship Wrestling.... more
having the Wrestling Match?
Wrestling has always had managers interfering and foreign objects and blind referees
missing tags. That's one thing. Another thing is when any outcome that McMahon or Shawn
Michaels don't like is simply tossed out. So the odds are stacked against one
competitor, usually Steve Austin or Mankind. But when
that competitor succeeds despite those odds, a knife gets stuck in his back.... more
No Place to
Raise a Child
Wrestling companies (namely the World Wrestling Federation and Extreme Championship
Wrestling) are offering up weekly television shows that feature everything from women
tearing the clothes off of each other to wrestlers offering suggestions on how to service
their sexual organs. I often wonder how any parent can allow their 8-year-old child to
watch wrestling, as we know it today.... more
Wrestling is now
a Rock Concert
It hit me a couple
weeks ago watching Raw, when the New Age Outlaws came out to defend their
tag titles against...well, I don't remember, since none of their other tag teams have even
a passing knowledge of the term "over".... more
did I know that the program airing before "This Week
In Baseball" would change my life forever. That program
was Southwest Championship Wrestling, a promotion based
out of San Antonio, Texas....