The Ring Report TV Update, Vol. 4, Issue #42, Nov. 29, 1998

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The Ring Report TV Update, Vol. 4, Issue #42, Nov. 29, 1998
(“A community is like a ship, everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.” — Henrik Ibsen)
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WWF SUNDAY NIGHT HEAT 11/29/98
WHAT YOU MISSED: CHRISTIAN vs. DUANE GILL — WWF LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE: THE BLUE MEANIE attacks Christian, resulting in the DQ of Gill. THE BROOD and THE JOB SQUAD go at it after the match as meanie runs off . . . D’LO BROWN vs. STEVE BLACKMON: THE BLUE BLAZER appears from under the ring but his cape gets stuck on something. Blackmon loses by countout as Blackmon attacks the Blazer . . . VINCE and SHANE MCMAHON are with THE STOOGES in the locker room. Vince orders them to kiss someone’s rear end . . . THE GODFATHER & VAL VENIS over THE HEADBANGERS with help from THE ODDITIES. The Oddities attack the Headbangers after the match . . . VINCE MCMAHON whining and dining THE NEW AGE OUTLAWS . . . MARK HENRY vs. X-POC — WWF EUROPEAN TITLE: Henry starts off with a poem. He loses when X-POC hits him with the X-FACTOR from the second rope. KEVIN KELLY comes to the ring after the match and X-POC says that if Henry gets out of line with Chyna on their date it’ll be their first date and his last rights. Kelly tells X-POC that THE NEW AGE OUTLAWS are in the private meeting in a skybox with VINCE MCMAHON. X-POC says that he hopes they’re kissing rear end and The Outlaws storm out of the skybox . . . comments from STEVE AUSTIN from Saturday. VINCE MCMAHON had earlier ruled that Austin needs 24 hours to cool off before being allowed to be on tv . . . comments from THE UNDERTAKER & PAUL BEARER. Bearer says he has papers that will commit KANE to an institution if he shows up at RAW tomorrow night . . . comments from JEFF JARRETT on how he hates Yankees . . . KANE vs. JEFF JARRETT: DEBORAH gets in the ring. He goes to chokeslam her. Jarrett hits him over the head with the guitar in front of the ref. and Kane doesn’t move. The ref. DQ’s Jarrett . . . ROCKY MIAVIA comes out to commentate for KEN SHAMROCK & THE BIG BOSSMAN vs. MANKIND & AL SNOW w/HEAD: Bossman pins Snow while Mankind attacks Miavia. THE J.O.B. SQUAD make the save. THE BROOD come out and it’s one big brawl as we fade out . . .

ECW 11/28/98
WHAT YOU MISSED: We open with a somber JOEY STYLES taking us through the recent main event at the ECW Arena. It’s highlighted by footage SHANE DOUGLAS & FRANCINE in the ring. Douglas says that CHRIS CANDIDO is out and that BAM BAM BIGELOW is gone but he’s not on the ropes. He says hit the music and TAZ’S music starts. Taz comes out with his FTW title. Douglas says he airs his laundry in public and that tonight is no different. Douglas says he knows that Taz is the man who will beat him one day. He says they both hate SABU and that Sabu does not deserve a title shot. He says there’s one way that he’ll make it to that — and that’s by Taz taking out Sabu. He asks Taz to tag team with him against Sabu and ROB VAN DAM tonight. Taz accepts . . . back from commercial with late breaking news from Styles. Styles shows footage of Van Dam defending his ECW WORLD TV TITLE to ROD PRICE earlier in the card. Van Dam gets the win in a match were both guys looked good . . . quick footage of THE BLUE MEANIE, CHRIS CHETI & SUPER NOVA getting a win . . . LANCE STORM vs. JERRY LYNN: Storm gets on the microphone and proposes that MIKEY WHIPWRECK and JERRY LYNN face each other so one of them will get a rare win. Whipwreck says that he can beat both Lynn and Whipwreck. Storm says the same thing to the ref. The ref. says that Storm will face both guys back to back then. Storm takes on Lynn first. Storm gets the win (as highlights are shown) when TAMMY LYNN BYTCH hits Lynn over the head with a loaded purse . . . MIKEY WHIPWRECK vs. JERRY LYNN: more highlights. Lynn hits Mikey with the loaded purse behind the ref.’s back, the ref. yells at Lynn and Bytch puts Storm on top of Mikey for the pin . . . SABU & ROB VAN DAM vs. SHANE DOUGLAS & TAZ: Sabu pins Douglas. Taz comes into the ring puts Sabu into the TAZMISSION then turns it into a TAZPLEX. Sabu is on the mat and is barely moving. Security, PAUL HEYMAN, and the ring crew fill the ring. Taz is stunned as Sabu isn’t moving. DAMAGE CONTROL (the ECW medics) hit the ring and start to stretcher out Sabu. Taz seems remorseful to Paul Heyman. ROB VAN DAM & FONZIE demand that Taz leave. Taz walks through the crowd of people in the ring and attacks Sabu on the stretcher. Rob Van Dam tries to stop him and it’s a pull apart with people stepping on Sabu in the process. Security drags Taz away from the ring. We cut to footage of Sabu being wheeled into the ambulance. Joey says that Taz turned the Tazmission into a choke and did the Tazplex on purpose . . . They cut in with Joey with Taz on the phone from the Jersey Turnpike. Taz says that no one cared about him when he broke his neck in 1995 and he walked out of the ring by himself. He says that he did this as revenge on Sabu for Sabu wrecking his moment at NOVEMBER TO REMEMBER. He dares Sabu to come back to the ring after this . . .

ECWA Newport, DE, 11/28/98 by Jeff Amdur (jefam@home.com)
A tournament leading to the crowning of new tag team champions, as well as a successful defense of the heavyweight title in a four-way dance, highlighted the monthly card of JIM KETTNER’s East Coast Wrestling Association at the St. Matthews Parish Hall in Newport, Delaware, on November 28.

I noticed a whole lot of Internet folks in the audience:  Lee “Dark Cheetah” Morey, the Magee Brothers (Bob and Sarge), Josh Holmes, Chris Shutters, Jeremy Billones, Brett Schwan, and probably some other folks lurking around. I assume one or more of these folks will be writing their own critique of the show, available on these boards shortly.   Also watching the proceedings were GINO MOORE and KATHY FITZPATRICK of the National Wrestling Alliance.  Taking
pictures at ringside, along with BERNIE DIEHL (still looking like Ben Franklin with several days’ beard growth), was the dean of wrestling journalists, BILL APTER of Pro Wrestling Illustrated.

Attendance estimated at 600, standing room and packed.  ECWA commissioner in attendance: RICHARD NAEGELE.  Ring announcers and play-by-play guys:  BILLY K, “FLYIN” RYAN O’BRIEN, and CHUCK RISTANO.  Timekeeper at the bell: JEFF AMDUR.  Referees:  PAUL TURNER, BOB DENSMORE, ROCK AUSTIN, and LARRY PEACE.

Before the matches, as the crowd arrived, MONSIEUR OOH LA LA was in his usual position taunting the crowd.  Several times during this period, the “Barney” theme was played over the PA system by the ring crew, who has obvious heat with Ooh due to the problems their member J.J. has had.  Every time the “Barney” theme was played, Ooh scurried to the back in anger.

In the opener ‘THE ALL-AMERICAN” JEFF PETERSON pinned DRACONUS in 5:21 after a sunset flip in a match filled with international-type (Mexican and Japanese) moves.  Draconus is the first in a series of “exchange” students sent to wrestle students and recent graduates of Jim Kettner’s WrestleTech school.  After the match, Peterson and Draconus shook hands; but Jeff was then
flattened by a shot from the flagpole of THE PERSIAN PRINCE.  Draconus joined Prince in beating Peterson senseless.

Commissioner RICHARD NAEGELE then explained to the crowd what had happened to the ECWA tag belts, last held by LANCE DIAMOND & CHEETAH MASTER.  Because of Cheetah’s career-ending injury (and previous dissension among team members), the belts had not been defended in over a year.  Naegele called for the wrestlers to relinquish their belts.  Diamond handed over his belt, and
Cheetah’s manager CAPTAIN LOU ALBANO handed over the belt for his absent charge.  Lou praised Cheetah to the crowd, which prompted a negative response from Lance, who said that Cheetah had “no pride” compared to Lance, who was back wrestling only two and a half months after his own injury.  In a classic Albano tirade, he called Diamond a coward and a half-wit, and said that even at his age he could beat up Lance.

Then followed the first quarter-final match in the tag-team tournament as THUNDER & J.R. RYDER pinned DR. DESTRUCTION & THE COMMANDO (with BARRY CASINO) in 6:24.

Another quarter-final  saw “THE CELEBRITY” CHRIS KRUEGER & DON MONTOYA (with E.S. EASTON) pin MARK “THE SHARK” SHRADER & TOMMY GOLDEN in 7:40.  Before the match,  Krueger dedicated the match to “my girlfriend, Neve Campbell”.  At one point of the match, Easton called for “make up”, and a midget appeared with a giant powder puff, hurling its contents at Shark, who was temporarily blinded.  The pinning maneuver had both Chris and Don suplexing Golden off the top rope before the pin.  The PA guys announced the move as a “cineplex” but were corrected by Easton later on in the evening as to the name of the move, calling it the “double feature”.

In a mixed tag-team match that was a follow-up from the scaffold match last month, J.J. THE RING CREW GUY & LITTLE LOUIE pinned MONSIEUR OOH LA LA & LA in 11:57.  The midget La was introduced as Ooh’s “half-brother”.  Louie actually scored the pin over Ooh after J.J. had rendered Ooh unconscious with a sleeper.  A pre-match highlight was a double “strip-tease” as both La La and La had trouble stripping down to their wrestling togs, simultaneously falling
to the floor.

There was then a special ceremony in the ring as commissioner Naegele introduced PWI’s BILL APTER, who reminisced about the recently-departed midget wrestling legend SKY LOW LOW.  Apter presented the “Sky Low Low Memorial Award” to LITTLE LOUIE, who was not only trained by Sky, but also was defeated by Sky in Sky’s last pro wrestling match.

The third quarter-final saw “LIGHTNING” MIKE QUACKENBUSH & THE INFERNO KID advanced with  an 11:58 pin fall victory over TWIGGY RAMIREZ & SWEET MISTER E (with BARRY CASINO).

The last team to advance was ACE DARLING & “DANGEROUS” DEVON STORM (with THE MASTER), who pinned THE SOUL BROTHERS (JACK & ELVIN) in 10:16.  The finisher involved Devon delivering a huracanrana to his own partner who in turn was smashed on their prone opponent for the pin.  Storm is sporting an even newer look, as he now has a beard to go with the jet-black hair.

After the intermission, THE BOOGIE WOOGIE BEAR (formerly known as KODIAK BEAR) came out with his manager THE MASTER.  Bear cut down BOOGIE WOOGIE BROWN, whom he is blatantly ripping off, even dancing to the strains of “Sweet Home Chicago”.  Master announced that due to the fact that he is managing so many other wrestlers, he had put Bear’s contract up to the highest bidder, and that bidder, BARRY CASINO, has become Bear’s new manager.  Casino came out, and all
three danced to the “Chicago” tune.

ACE DARLING & “DANGEROUS” DEVON STORM (with THE MASTER) advanced to the tournament finals with a victory over “LIGHTNING” MIKE QUACKENBUSH & THE INFERNO KID in 14:05, using that same huracanrana maneuver that they had ended the quarter final with.

Also advancing to the finals were THUNDER & J.R. RYDER with a pin fall over DON MONTOYA & “THE CELEBRITY” CHRIS KRUEGER (with E.S. EASTON) in 6:18.  The “make up” attempt this time backfired as Easton caught the contents of the midget’s giant powder puff.  After the match, Krueger and Montoya attacked the victors, rendering Thunder unconscious as they handcuffed Ryder to a ring
post.  Eventually freed, Ryder had to carry Thunder back to the dressing room over his shoulder.

In a lumberjack match, GLENN OSBOURNE pinned ANDREW MARTIN (with THE MASTER) in 9:46.  Before the match, Oz had issued a challenge that stated that if Martin lost, his manager Master would have to leave ECWA forever.  Master accepted the challenge, and is thus gone from ECWA.

Then came the tournament finals.  Commissioner RICHARD NAEGELE announced that since the injured Thunder was in no shape to wrestle in the finals, the team of Ryder & Thunder would be replaced by two names drawn from a hat where there were slips of paper with the names of all wrestlers in the building.  Thus we had …

ACE DARLING & “DANGEROUS” DEVON STORM (this time, without a manager since their manager had just been forced to leave ECWA for life) won the tag titles by pinning GLENN OSBOURNE & BOOGIE WOOGIE BROWN in 5:13.  Brown came out to wrestle even though he was in questionable shape himself due to a leg injury.  It was obvious that Boogie wasn’t at full strength; but at one point Boogie had Devon pinned.  The ref, however, didn’t see it as he was breaking up Ace
and Glenn wrestling outside the ring.  With the ref distracted, BOOGIE WOOGIE BEAR came to the ring and chairshotted Brown both in the head and the injured leg.  The ref returned to the ring to see Storm covering for the pin.

The ECWAtron ran a preview of the main event as it took several people to get Brown, hardly able to walk, back to the locker room.

In a four-way-dance for the heavyweight belt, CHRISTIAN CAGE (dressed in his “brood” getup) retained his title against    LANCE DIAMOND, RECKLESS YOUTH, and “DANCIN” STEVIE RICHARDS.  The match was fast-paced with many near-falls broken up by a third part, as the stipulations said that the first wrestler to score a pin fall would win the belt.  Christian pinned Reckless as Lance and Stevie were fighting outside the ring.

The ECWA returns to St. Matthew’s on Saturday, January 16, with a 7 p.m. bell time.

From Jeff the ECWA timekeeper.

WCW SATURDAY NIGHT 11/28/98
WHAT YOU MISSED: EDDY GUERRERO vs. KIDMAN: Non-title match. Eddy wins with a frog splash. The LWO attack Kidman, REY MISTERIO JR. makes the save . . . MIKE TENEY & SCOTT HUDSON talk about HOLLYWOOD HOGAN’S retirement . . . BARRY DARSOW vs. LODI: Barry wants Lodi to putt. He uses an exploding ball when Lodi tries to putt. Darsow then challenges him to juggle. Darsow juggles then nails Lodi with a ball then chokes Lodi out with a golf club . . . a look at KEVIN NASH winning WW3 . . . a look at the PERRY SATURN/ERNEST MILLER feud . . . PERRY SATURN over SILVER KING . . . a look at the KIDMAN/MISTERIO match from NITRO . . . SCOTT ARMSTRONG fell to KANYON . . . GLACIER over BOBBY BLAZE . . . EL CYCLOPE fell to SCOTT PUTSKI . . . another look at WW3 and KEVIN NASH winning WW3 followed by the events surrounding BILL GOLDBERG vs. THE GIANT at NITRO . . . CHAD FORTUNE fell to ALEX WRIGHT. Years later and Wright hasn’t learned a new dance move. Sad. Sad. . . . a look at BARRY WINDHAM attacking RIC FLAIR on NITRO . . . PRINCE IUKEA fell to CHRIS BENOIT . . . TOKOYO MAGNUM fell to VINCENT . . . BRET HART vs. BOOKER T: Hart uses a chair and gets DQ’d. STEVIE RAY makes the save . . .

IPW Steelton, 11/27/98 by Jeff Amdur (jefam@home.com)
Promoter Ed Zohn’s International Pro Wrestling returned to the I.W. Abel Steelworkers Hall in Steelton, PA, on November 27, with a lineup that included several former WWF stars.

Attendance estimated at 250.  Crowd was largely subdued throughout much of the evening for reasons no one can figure out.  IPW promoter at ringside: ED ZOHN.  Ring announcer: DAN MORELAND.  Timekeeper at the bell:  BILL MILLER.  Overseeing the ringside table: CARRIE MESSANTONIO.  Referees for the evening:  MIKE DiMUZIO and PAUL TURNER.

Taking pictures around the ring was TIM WALKER.  Watching the proceedings from the peanut gallery were indie manager BARRY CASINO and wrestler CHEF D.Z. GILLESPIE.  Not there, thankfully, was that strange spectator known to us as “Doberman” (see my report on the previous Steelton show).

MATCH #1:  TOMMY IDOL vs. MIKE QUACKENBUSH.  Match is fast-paced as Idol gains the first advantage by kneeing Quack into the ropes.  Quack counters with a hammerlock, then Idol turns him over and gets a 2-count.  Tommy and Mike exchange knee drops, and Quack gains the advantage with an arm bar followed by some drop kicks.  Idol leaves the ring and is chased by Quack.  Back in the ring, Idol hides behind the ref after being bodyslammed by Quack.  Tommy knees and clotheslines Quackenbush, then gets a 2-count after a tilt-a-whirl body slam.  (All right, if I don’t know the exact name of a hold, I’ll either (a) make up the name; (b) call it a “modified [name of hold]”; or (c) call it a “[name of hold]-like maneuver”. I chose (a) for what Idol had just done). Tommy gets another 2-count after delivering a “people’s kneedrop”.  Quack then karate kicks Idol out of the ring, moonsaults onto him on the floor, and brings him back into the ring for a 2-count.  Idol’s efforts to get Quack to submit first to a Boston crab, then to a headlock, are in vain.  Quack mounts the ropes but is dropkicked off them by Idol.  Idol then leaps off the top turnbuckle and delivers a flying double-ax-handle to Quack, who is on the floor.  Back in the ring, Quack delivers a body slam, back suplex and flying body press before getting a 2-count.  Idol gets his own 2-count after a drop kick.  Another Idol 2-count after a rompecojones and back suplex.  Rapid exchanges of 2-counts from both wrestlers, then Quack throws Idol down on the floor.  Quack then hits a running Liger bomb (I know this one because Quack yelled out to the crowd what he was going to do) before finally getting the 3-count.  QUACKENBUSH by pin fall in 11:26.

INTERLUDE #1:  ROB NOXIOUS comes out with his manager HARVEY WIPPLEMAN. Harvey takes the mike and runs down both the crowd and wrestler JOHNNY GRAHAM, who is supposed to wrestle Rob at some point in the future but is unable to be in Steelton due to Marine Corps reserve obligations. Wippleman calls Graham and promoter ED ZOHN “afraid” to book a Noxious-Graham match.  Noxious then insults (“Is that a yarmulke on the back of your head, or is that just a bald spot?”)  Zohn criticizes Harvey and Rob for having created a “circus atmosphere” here; but says he has an opponent for Rob tonight fitting that circus atmosphere.  So we have …

MATCH #2:  ROB NOXIOUS (with HARVEY WIPPLEMAN) vs. YET ANOTHER WRESTLING CLOWN (no, I’m not going to risk lawsuit by saying the “D” word in print).  Interestingly and inexplicably, YAWC wrestles the entire match with his blue clown overcoat on.  Much of the match involves Wippleman’s efforts to taunt the crowd and interfere in the match.  The end comes when YAWC moves out of the way of a Noxious leap off the turnbuckle and is able to schoolboy Rob for the pin.  YAWC by pin fall 8:41.

After the match, Wippleman insists on a rematch on a later card and makes Ed Zohn the offer that if YAWC wins the rematch, Ed will get five minutes with Harvey in the ring.

MATCH #3:  THE INTIMIDATORS (TROY MEST & MAXX CRIMSON, with MARK MEST) vs. THE CREMATOR & PAUL MITCHELL.  The match is a chaotic brawl, with my notes on the match kind of incoherent.  After about ten and a half minutes, Mark Mest interferes by headbutting ref MIKE DiMUZIO into unconsciousness.  All three bad guys start ganging up on the good guys, until other wrestlers on the card come in to try to break it up.

Well, since the next match is going to be a battle royal anyway, and since all the participants in the battle royal have come to ringside to try to break up the chaotic tag match, Ed Zohn signals the start of the battle royal right now.  the winner of the battle royal gets to meet DON ROTT, last month’s battle royal winner, for the Eastern states belt.

MATCH #4:  “STEELWORKER” DANA HINKLE, the hometown favorite, wins the battle royal in 5:58, with Rott at ringside to watch the proceedings.  The other participants are  PAUL MITCHELL, ROB NOXIOUS, MARK MEST, MIKE QUACKENBUSH, MAXX CRIMSON, JULIO SANCHEZ, THE CREMATOR, MOOSE CONNORS, PAUL MITCHELL and TOMMY IDOL.

A word about MOOSE CONNORS: I’m less than a year and a half away from my 50th birthday, and I’d have to say that Connors, who is a wrestling rookie, looks considerably older than I do.  He needs a *lot* of work, to say the least. Maybe he could be re-packaged as a masked “el hijo de Ralphus”–, er, let’s make that “el padre de Ralphus”–and marketed accordingly.  Ranks right down there with the 1994 debut of the never-to-be-forgotten-no-matter-how-hard-one-tries MEWF rookie TOXIC WASTE.  Except Toxic never got any better.  Let’s hope this guy does.

Ed Zohn has this large trophy brought out and announces that he has changed the booking of the Hinkle-Rott affair so that they will be wrestling for the trophy emblematic of the heavyweight championship of Steelton rather than the Eastern states title.  So, after intermission, we have …

MATCH #5:  DON ROTT (with ROB NOXIOUS) vs. “STEELWORKER” DANA HINKLE for the Steelton championship trophy.  Rott makes known his displeasure at the change in titles at stake.  After insulting both Steelton and CARRIE MESSANTONIO, Rob Noxious is ordered back to the locker room by Ed Zohn.  As the match starts, Rott delays as much as he can, exiting the ring for 5- to 9-counts, and then coming back in to pose a bit.  Rott dominates much of the match with power moves, including a modified suplex-neckbreaker.  A Rott one-shoulder backbreaker leaves Hinkle on the mat; but rather than cover for the pin, Don decides to pose some more for the crowd.  Rott gets the pin and the Steelton championship trophy with a 14:18 pin following a modified Samoan drop (I don’t know what the hell else to call that move, get used to that, folks)

After the match, Rob Noxious returns from the back to help Rott stomp on Hinkle, the hometown hero.  PAUL MITCHELL comes out to help, but he is also pummeled, as Noxious uses Rott’s newly-won trophy to clock Paul and Dana.

MATCH #6:  THE BROOKLYN BRAWLER (with HARVEY WIPPLEMAN) vs. JULIO SANCHEZ. Harvey announces that he used to manage Julio in IPW, but fired him a couple of months ago (even though the crowd vividly remembers it was Sanchez who fired Harvey).  and has recruited the Brawler from the WWF to take care of Julio.  Julio is announced as from Washington, DC, rather than San Juan (prompting me to recall the fact that I last changed addresses over Thanksgiving weekend 1983) and is not given his usual “Latin Dragon” moniker. Julio gets the crowd going somewhat by pointing to Harvey and starting a “this guy [inhales]” chant.

[IRRELEVANT-TO-THIS-SHOW-REPORT-EDITORIAL-COMMENT:  As I type this I’m watching the WCWSN I taped and during the Benoit-Iaukea match am hearing Mike Tenay destroy whatever credibility he had remaining by talking about how Hogan will devote all his time now to his Presidential campaign.  Ugh!  How many more people will cease to be taken seriously as a result of their reporting that the Presidential campaign is the reason why Hogan is retiring?  The list I think, is now up to two.  Phtpthtpthtpthtpthtp!!!!!  Well, anyway, back to the previously-scheduled description of match 6]

Brawler, who doesn’t stop his loud talking during the entire match (taking a page out of the Mike Sharpe manual), taunts Julio; but Julio counters with a body slam and keeps control with a wristlock.  Wippleman’s interference backfires several times as Sanchez ducks Brawler clothesline attempts.  Brooklyn gets an advantage as he slingshots Julio’s neck off the ropes, with Harvey getting in some punches of his own.  Sanchez re-enters the ring and does the sunset flip and has Brawler pinned; but ref Turner is being distracted by Harvey.  Brawler gets a 2-count after a series of headlocks and punches.  He tries a sleeper, but Julio breaks it with a head to the chin. Julio follows with clotheslines and a super kick, then tries a back suplex near the ropes.  That’s a mistake, as Wippleman trips up Julio, and Brawler falls on him for the pin as Harvey holds on to Sanchez’s legs to prevent him from kicking out.  SANCHEZ by pin fall in 8:40.

MATCH #7:  For the IPW heavyweight title:  challenger KING KONG BUNDY (with HARVEY WIPPLEMAN) vs. champion TOM BRANDI.   Brandi comes out to the ring and recruits a group of children from the audience.  He puts his championship belt around the waist of one of the kids.    When Brandi signals, all the kids around the ring direct a “Suck it!” and crotch chop in the direction of Bundy.  As the match begins, Bundy and his manager double team Tom; but Tom answers with a pair of clotheslines.  He then takes the timekeeper’s clanger, pummels both bad guys with it.  Brandi then must suspect Bundy of having some sort of fever as he mistakes the clanger for a rectal thermometer.  Bundy is *not* amused.  Brandi must have found a fever reading because the tries to cool Bundy off by shaking up a can of cold soda and spraying the contents on his face.  King Kong has had enough as he retaliates with stomps and chops, kicking Tom out of the ring where a waiting Harvey kicks him some more.  Back in the ring, Tom moves at the last minute to avoid a charging Bundy, and a series of punches floors Bundy.  Wippleman then goes to his pocket for some powder and throws it at Brandi.  Tom ducks, and the powder winds up getting in ref Mike DiMuzio’s eyes instead.  When Mike gets enough of his vision back, he signals the end of the match.  BRANDI retains his title by beating Bundy by disqualification in 4:55.

NOTES FROM THE MADDOG
Writing this while I’m watching my tape of this week’s ECW and getting ready to watch WWF’S Sunday Night Heat. More and more Heat is becoming on the level of RAW or NITRO for excitement each week. For the WWF it’s a great way to lead into Pay Per Views and successfully caries over the excitement from Monday Night RAW. WCW should be doing the same with WCW Saturday Night but WCW doesn’t seem to have a clue about anything these day.

Thursday night HOLLYWOOD HULK HOGAN announced his retirement. We had all heard it earlier in the week when the story broke on the web and most of us had heard the rumors a year ago that STARRCADE ’98 would be Hogan’s last match and he’d go out as a babyface vs. BILL GOLDBERG. While that didn’t happen it didn’t really come as a surprise that Hogan said what he did and is leaving the sport. For now anyway.

The WCW is left in the position of figuring out what to do next. Right now the WCW is dominated by groups of wrestlers. You have the NWO Wolfpac, the LWO, the OWN (if any of the guys are still there), plain old generic WCW guys, and you have NWO Hollywood.

NWO Hollywood is, of course, the largest of these groups and consists mainly of former WWF guys. They are centered around Hollywood Hogan and ERIC BISCHOFF and essentially run the WCW. To me it seems like NWO HOLLYWOOD was designed to have Hogan and Bischoff and 18 billion guys but not one spark of charisma between them.

Sure you have the SCOTT STEINER & MARCUS BAGWELL combination, but they’re really a one trick pony. Right now they can’t get over with RICK STEINER to be their foil and a career isn’t made on Scott Steiner vs. Rick Steiner matches. You have CURT HENNING. Well you had him, since RICK RUDE’S cancer scare Hennig hasn’t been spotted down south for some time. Hennig is at his best when he’s alone and everyone hates him as “MR. PERFECT.” He’s not group material and he fades into obscurity in such a large group. You have THE GIANT, but as much as I like the guy he can’t work a microphone and he’s just another goon who has been jobbed out and may be leaving. VINCENT, STEVIE RAY, HORACE HOGAN and SCOTT NORTON round out the just another goon contingent. That leaves the group with ERIC BISCHOFF as the most charismatic person after Hogan in the group and a huge hole to fill if this concept is going to survive.

It kind of reminds me of the situation the WWF faced when SHAWN MICHAELS left earlier in the year. Michaels with HUNTER HEARST HELMSLY had formed DX. They were bad boys and they, with CHYNA, started the whole DX movement with a series of skits that were in poor taste but were really over with the crowd. By the time Michaels was leaving the WWF DX was getting old and they were faced with the situation of a less than charismatic Hunter Hearst Helmsly alone with DX. Instead of folding, they assessed the situation and brought back X-POC and brought in the NEW AGE OUTLAWS to help Helmsly get over with the crowd and turned DX into the mega-successful group it is now.

Right now NWO HOLLYWOOD is about to lose their older, balder, slower, less-talented version of Shawn Michaels (yes old biases die hard). There’s no one in the group who can take over for him at this time and the group is in major distress without him. As much as Eric Bischoff would like to think he can carry a group of wrestlers, it’s proven that he’s not over with anyone (hatred in real life and hatred of the character are two different things), and it’s time for the WCW to assess the situation and make some changes.

Last week they kicked out SCOTT HALL. Hall started the whole NWO movement ages ago and it looks like he’s on the road to going back to a team with KEVIN NASH in the NWO WOLFPAC, another collection of once-stars who are now generic goons. To me Hall, even with his woeful driving record and personal demons, could have been the man to take over for Hogan. He’s a wrestling superstar and the only guy they had left who could still be cool while leading the premiere rule breaking contingent in the WCW.

Without him I don’t think that they can carry on for much longer. The whole NWO Hollywood concept has been about being cooler than the other guys and running the show. Without Hogan or Hall in the group there’s no one who can do that. Before they go on the air tomorrow night and face the world without a Hogan they need to assess who they have left and come up with a leader and a plan for a future without him (for now anyway).

BRET HART may be the answer they’ll look to this time. He’s had a loose affiliation with NWO HOLLYWOOD for the past year and even though they’re currently running with him being at odds with STEVIE RAY over BOOKER T, anyone who missed WCW SATURDAY NIGHT isn’t going to remember that. Even with that if play it up and dump some of the dead weight (i.e. Stevie Ray), as Hart were to take over they’d be better off in the long run. Hart has the charisma to be their next leader and was groomed for it earlier in the year with his friendship with Hogan in the ring.

Even if my speculation about Hart works out they still have a group that’s dominated with generic goons and they’ll have a lot of work to do. It’s going to be an interesting situation to watch, to gossip about, and discuss for the near future.

On that note I’m out of here. A short one this week and we’ll be back to weekly Ring Reports as we can. Take care and . . .

HAVE A GREAT WEEK!

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The Ring Report TV Update is published weekly on RSPWI. It is now available via subscription by sending a “SUBSCRIBE” message to ringreport@aol.com. We do accept tv & house show report submissions as well as column submissions (as long as the columns are short), and all should be sent to ringreport@aol.com.  All reports are (c) 1998 MAD DOG BYTES COMPUTERS and not for reuse or retransmission without permission.
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