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June 15, 1998 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Full JYD Bio, WCW files lawsuit against WWF, tons more

A full bio for Junkyard Dog, a look at the lawsuit filed by WCW against WWF, details on the finals of the NJPW Best of the Super Juniors Tournament,  plus tons more.

 Wrestling Observer Newsletter

PO Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228 June 15, 1998


Who dat think they can beat dat Dog? Who dat?

 

It was a long time ago

 

In a world totally different from today.

The old Downtown Municipal Auditorium in New Orleans every Monday night in those days was known as The Dog's Yard. It was a wild dangerous scene. It was in a part of town that the people from the suburbs knew to avoid, and the scene inside the building exemplified exactly what they were afraid of. There were usually some 5,000 to 8,000 fans packing the place. There were near and occasional outright riots nearly every week within the building. Sometimes there were riots in the streets outside the building from fans who were turned away at the door the night there were sellouts. The security force was aggressive and legendary, and on more than one occasion literally saved the lives of the heels that were threatening their king. His opponents often wouldn't even dare drive to the building for fear their cars would be destroyed, and often would sneak out of the arena in the trunk of someone else's car so as not to be followed by the dangerous mob. The crowd was heavily African-American. Black was the term in those days. Their king was the Junkyard Dog.

From 1980 to 1984, The Dog barked, danced and head-butted his way through opponents fed to him while the fans in the Big Easy created the chant and repeated it every Monday night that still exists in another form to this day, "Who dat think they can beat dat Dog? Who Dat?" The fans came to see the Dog thump foe after foe with his powerslam, but along the way, Sylvester Ritter had real-life opponents who had the power to put him down for the three count the way promoters of that time would never dare allow his opponents to do. Nobody is really sure which came first, the marital problems or the cocaine, but they were a devastating 1-2 punch that were chipping away at the armor of the Junkyard Dog the fans saw, but were doing a lot more damage to the Sylvester Ritter that they didn't know.

On a national basis, the Junkyard Dog will best be known for his run in the World Wrestling Federation from late 1984 to 1987 when he was a headliner and one of the top babyfaces in an era that will go down as being known for cartoon wrestling, network television exposure, steroids, the beginnings of Wrestlemania, the birth of toy action figures and the infancy of pay-per-view television. He was on the first Wrestlemania, beating Greg Valentine via count out in a match for Valentine's Intercontinental title. He was on the first Saturday Nights Main Event on NBC six weeks later. He won the first and only Wrestling Classic PPV tournament in Chicago. He was in the final match in early 1986 when NBC set the all-time ratings record in that 11:30 p.m. time slot in the history of television teaming with Ricky Steamboat to beat Don Muraco & Mr. Fuji. He was actually in the best match at the second Wrestlemania, teaming with Tito Santana to lose to Dory & Terry Funk, and one month later on NBC teamed with Hogan to gain revenge on the Funks. He beat Adrian Adonis via count out in one of the top matches before 69,300 fans in Toronto underneath the Hulk Hogan vs. Paul Orndorff match on August 8, 1986, and his run as one of the main stars ended when he lost to Harley Race at the most famous Wrestlemania of them all, on March 29, 1987 at the Pontiac Silverdome. He lost his job shortly thereafter and in a few comebacks was never, and really could no longer be pushed as a major star.

But to the people who knew the Junkyard Dog best, even though he made his biggest money in the WWF and was a genuinely top star and gained his international notoriety at that time, the Junkyard Dog that they remember was the one who set New Orleans, and the rest of Louisiana and Mississippi and Oklahoma, Arkansas and parts of Texas on fire several years earlier when the wrestling world and the world in general in those parts of the country was a very different place.

That Junkyard Dog was, within his domain, one of the most genuinely loved pro wrestling personalities in any region at any time to the level that few wrestling fans outside that area ever really grasped. Perhaps the only wrestlers who were actually loved by fans to the same level were the even more tragic Von Erich family in nearby Texas but the results of that love weren't nearly as dangerous. The ultimate creation of the right person with the right look and the right charisma coming at the right time with the right promotion and angles behind him. That rare part of wrestling history when all the dots connect at once and the result is a magical form of emotion that wrestling often comes close to but only in the most rare occasions actually fully achieves. When the fantasy actually becomes highly-charged emotional reality to a scary number of people. It was only a fleeting time, a few years of record business in cities where the population wasn't all that large and the economy was all that poor. Bill Watts, the promoter at the time and the architect behind-the-scenes of his success, called the period "Camelot." Of course that fantasy in hindsight was certainly different from the reality of the boys, working seven days a week, often twice on Saturdays and Sundays, driving upwards of 2,000 miles per week on two-lane roads winding around several states. Those who didn't make it out alive remember working for Mid South Wrestling in those days as a living hell. Some of those who did make it, particularly in hindsight, have more fonder memories, of the days when the fans thought wrestling was real, maybe too real, and of all the lessons that were crammed into their heads about what pro wrestling should be when everything makes logical sense and it clicks on all cylinders by Professor Watts, or "Bucket Head," as JYD nicknamed him, while working their seven-day weeks. For a young enthusiastic wrestler wanting to learn, it was probably like the hardest year of law school with a tyrant instructor. A period that gave you constant headaches and nightmares and fears while it was going on, but one that molded all those who lived it and paid attention while there into wrestling minds what understood concepts of the business and television that few since that time really grasped and put all of them way ahead of the pack for years to come.

Like the death of Ray Stevens in San Francisco put final closure on a territory long since gone, the death of Junkyard Dog in many does the same thing for the hottest era ever for pro wrestling in that part of the country, all the monster crowds and television ratings that would literally boggle the mind, like 50 shares on UHF stations. Make no mistake about it. Nobody should ever, and hopefully will ever, compare the Junkyard Dog as a wrestler on his best day with Ray Stevens on his worst. Probably the most apt comparison would be to Dusty Rhodes, another poor worker who had incredible charisma and interview ability. The Dog, at his peak in New Orleans, was more popular and definitely a bigger drawing card than Rhodes ever was anywhere, although his shelf life on top wasn't nearly as long. Realistically, had it not been for the drugs and had he been as motivated as his contemporaries whose career stood the test of time and maintained his conditioning, he very likely could have still been a top star today with the kind of historical run that people like The Crusher and Dick the Bruiser had in their home cities to where they could still headline at the age of 50, in the same class of his contemporaries like Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage.

But it didn't happen. His career was long since over, fizzling out early due to problems that cost him his magic, cost him numerous jobs, cost him his reputation within the business and ultimately prematurely ended his career and ruined his life.

"I've never seen anyone who over was like Junkyard Dog in his prime," said Buddy Landel, who largely took care of the Dog during his glory years. "I was never around Hogan in his prime, but I was around Ric Flair in his peak and he was never over like JYD. I never heard a pop in wrestling like when he came out at the Superdome."

Sylvester Ritter passed away on 6/2 when he rolled his car three times after apparently falling asleep at the wheel driving back to his home in Mississippi from where he grew up in Wadesboro, NC. He was 45 years old. The company that made him a superstar and that, in return, he made millions of dollars for, Mid South Wrestling, had passed away 11 years ago. In a wrestling sense, the Junkyard Dog died several years earlier as well. He was a long forgotten name out of pro wrestling nostalgia at his death, even though many of his contemporaries are still around, and even though just a few weeks earlier he received a shocking pop when introduced at the ECW PPV event in Marietta, GA and got into the backstage fight with New Jack. And even as he was still doing independent shows in Mississippi and Louisiana drawing a few hundred onlookers who were trying to relive the days when he really was the Junkyard Dog. Sure, Junkyard Dog will always be remembered for having one of the classic ring names, perhaps dancing to the ring with the dog collar and his ridiculous crawling head-butts, being around during a hot period when wrestling was on late-night network television, but outside of his initial stomping grounds, for little else.

The most famous native son of Wadesboro, NC, a poor rural heavily black city off the beaten path from Charlotte, was a football and, believe it or not, wrestling star at Bowman High School, graduating in 1971. Dog was known as a poor wrestler inside the ring to where his best foes like Ted DiBiase and Terry Funk recognized the only way to have a match with him was to bounce around like a rubber ball when he remained largely stationary, but he was actually a good enough offensive guard at Fayetteville State University, an NAIA school in North Carolina, to be drafted in the 12th round by the Houston Oilers in 1975 after graduating with a B.A. in History and Political Science. And as everyone who knew him in his prime in the Mid South would attest, contrary to his WWF role, the Dog was no dummy, with a quick-wit and a classic interview style that nobody could get over on and was largely responsible for creating his weekly magic.

He was cut by the Oilers after blowing out his knee in camp, and the next season tried out for the Green Bay Packers, but was again cut in camp. He ended up playing one season with the Charlotte team in the old World Football League. At around this time he fathered three children, two of whom, DeVader and Kevin Polk, he had little connection to in later life and that even his best friends in wrestling knew nothing about. He was living in Charlotte, working as a deputy sheriff for Mecklenburg County when they had some sort of a wrestling tournament among the big tough members of the department, many of whom were as big as he was, and he was strong enough to throw everyone around. One of the deputies worked part-time as a referee for Pedro Martinez and suggested to Ritter that he try pro wrestling. Martinez was running a dying outlaw promotion called the IWA against Jim Crockett Jr. in the area, and Ritter's co-worker got Sonny King to train him and he began his wrestling career in 1977.

After only a few matches, he went to Memphis, where somebody must have been impressed with his size because he had little else at the time, or it may have just been timing since in those days blacks were a gimmick in wrestling, with many companies keeping one around largely as a token with the belief they'd draw black fans, but if there were too many, it would keep the whites away which was one of the theories why the NBA was dying at the time. Rocky Johnson had just left for Nova Scotia a few weeks earlier, and King Sylvester Ritter arrived in Memphis with a crown obviously to build to a feud with Jerry Lawler. Unfortunately, he was far too inexperienced and the feud never materialized. Within about a month he was gone, never getting out of the prelims. He moved over to Nick Gulas' Nashville circuit where the history books list him, in what would turn out to be a weird irony, using the ring name of Leroy Rochester, which was actually the real name of an established wrestler known as Bad Bad Leroy Brown, winning his first pro title, teaming with Gypsy Joe on Christmas Night of 1977 winning a tournament for the vacant Mid American tag team titles before losing in early 1978 to Bobby Eaton & Lanny Poffo. His next stop, and how he got there is anyone's guess, was Germany.

In August of 1978, Bruce Hart and Dynamite Kid were working in Bielfeld, Germany. Ritter had arrived about two weeks earlier and was such a poor wrestler that as they arrived, he was being fired in the middle of a tour which was unheard of, and as Hart recalled, he must have really been bad because that area at that time was filled with lousy wrestlers. Again, timing was everything. The top heel in the Calgary territory, Kasavubu managed by John Foley, doing kind of a Kimala before his time gimmick, real name Jimmie Banks (a former WWWF television jobber who used the name Jo Jo Andrews), had just left the territory and the promotion was sold on the idea of having a white-womanizing big black stud as its top heel, a role that years later actually clicked big for Badnews Allen. Big Daddy Ritter, still terribly green, but close to 300 pounds, was immediately put on top because Stu Hart wanted someone to fill the Kasavubu spot for Foley to manage, and always had a fondness for big football players, if, for no other reason, to lure them into the dungeon and do all those torturous things to them that Hart was known for doing. Although obviously these stories weren't true, Dog used to tell people that he started wrestling in Calgary, and that the Harts never smartened him up to the business and the first few weeks he was out there fighting for real, knocking guys around with real tackles, before Foley, an old-time shooter, started calming him down and teaching him the ropes. And like dozens of others who came back from Canada, he spent years doing Stu Hart imitations in the dressing room.

Ritter quickly became a reasonably good heel interview, although he showed no signs to anyone of impending superstardom, and with the foursome of Ritter, and a nearly as green version of Jake Roberts generally facing the likes of a green Bret Hart, along with Dynamite Kid who was already a super worker, the Calgary territory did reasonably well in late 1978 and early 1979.

Ritter had a five-month run as North American champion, with Roberts doing a babyface turn and capturing the title from him in April 1979. While on a road trip from Great Falls, MT back into Canada, the police pulled over the bus carrying the wrestlers and asked specifically for Ritter. Usually in that situation the wrestlers figured it was some outstanding arrest warrant being connected, but in this case the news was far worse. His two-year-old son had passed away. When NWA World champion Harley Race was brought in for the annual summer Stampede show, it marked the first time Ritter would challenge for the world heavyweight title. After regaining the title from Roberts in August, he got word, apparently from Roberts, that Jake's father would be involved in a new wrestling promotion that was opening up. Ritter dropped the belt to Larry Lane and he and Roberts arrived in Louisiana at about the same time Watts broke away from Leroy McGuirk and started up Mid South Wrestling promoting in what was thought to be a dead wrestling area of Louisiana and Mississippi. Watts' first, and without question his most successful creation, was the Junkyard Dog.

Watts is generally given credit for coming up with his famous ring name, obviously from a line out of the Jim Croce classic, "Bad Bad Leroy Brown," which was actually the song that created a wrestler of the same name who was actually the first American wrestler of that period, predating either JYD or The Freebirds, to have rock entrance music. In the song, Leroy Brown was badder than old King Kong, and meaner than the Junkyard Dog. However, the more accurate version is probably that Terry Funk created the name for pro wrestling from the song in West Texas a few years earlier where he nicknamed Buck Robley the Junkyard Dog. Robley, when working for Watts, or perhaps Watts, knowing the name Robley used in West Texas, remembered the name and the wrestler who became known worldwide as Junkyard Dog was created just after Watts began his new company.

At the time, JYD was supposed to be more of a comedic character along the lines of Fred Sanford, since Ritter's body movements were similar to that of a the television character Redd Foxx played in a hit TV show called "Sanford and Son," with his gimmick being that he was the owner of a junkyard that became a pro wrestler. He would come in wheeling a wheelbarrow full of junk to the ring, quickly dispatching his opponents, and then would wheel the wheelbarrow back to the dressing room. In time, after thumping his foes, he'd put them in the wheelbarrow. This character got over better then anyone could imagine, and early in 1980, Watts made what was actually considered a revolutionary decision within pro wrestling at the time to make him the unquestioned and unbeatable top babyface star of the promotion, a black Bruno Sammartino, figuring the two states he was promoting in, Louisiana and Mississippi, were heavily black, at the time the blacks loved pro wrestling and would believe in pro wrestling if he gave them a star and style of product they could believe in. Other promoters from around the country thought he was nuts, with the belief that white fans would never support a pro wrestling show where the top babyface of the company was black. The wheelbarrow was dumped, replaced with a dog collar, and added to the mix was the entrance music, and you have to remember that entrance music was revolutionary in the business at that time and its importance can't be overstated, "Another one bites the dust," which became synonymous in that part of the country to Junkyard Dog for the next few years.

While on the surface building the company in that region around a very charismatic black man made perfect sense, it wasn't quite as easy as it sounded. First off, Louisiana was perhaps the most politically corrupt state in the country. In every city, Watts had to use local officials, usually old-line white political patronage appointees, as his local promoters and the last thing some of these people wanted was to be promoting shows with the star of the show being black. Some of them didn't like it because they thought it would hurt them politically to be running shows with a black man portrayed, and who at the time looked the part, of a veritable superman among men on top, particularly since JYD's appeal crossed over all demographic lines which only made some uneasy since he was becoming enormously popular among white children. The fact JYD was so limited in the ring wasn't even a major consideration since Watts protected him, feeding him one good worker after another who would bump for him in short matches, very similar to Bill Goldberg today. At the time, JYD was a motivated powerhouse in the gym and physically would have been similar in both size and physique to today's Goldberg, heavily on the gas and reputedly bench pressing in excess of 500 pounds, which exceedingly few large powerlifters let alone wrestlers could do at that time, so he not only could speak the part, but looked the part as well. Watts would explain his quick wins by telling the fans that "JYD doesn't get paid by the hour." At least one of Watts' local promoters was an outright racist who didn't even want JYD booked on the shows despite JYD literally being the goose laying the golden eggs at the time. JYD, with his classic sense of humor, used to do localized interviews on television for that market, talking about coming to Jackson, MS, going over to his good friend promoter George C. Culkin's house before the matches to eat watermelon and fried chicken before kicking whomever behind later that night at the Coliseum, driving Culkin crazy, as he'd call Watts up and demand not only that JYD be fired, but that Jim Ross, who handled the interviews at the time, be fired as well.

When the decision was made to go all the way, the angle was created to build not only a top wrestling star, but a Sammartino-like folk hero for the masses. Watts decided to copy the most famous angle in Los Angeles wrestling history which led to the 1971 Fred Blassie vs. John Tolos match at the Coliseum and blind the Dog, teasing that his career was over, and then when he defied the doctors' odds and came back anyway, he'd be made. First, he was made into a main event calibre player when he won both the Louisiana and Mississippi titles, and then he and Robley defeated The Fabulous Freebirds to win the Mid South tag team titles. Then in an angle, Hayes used the infamous Freebird hair removing cream to the Dog's eyes, blinding him. It should be noted by this time, Mid South Wrestling was starting to garner some very impressive local television ratings, the territory was already popping, and the Dog was already becoming something of a well-known celebrity in those markets. Literally, to protect the territory, Dog wasn't allowed to leave his house during this period for fear anyone would see that he really wasn't blind. While this was going on, fans in the territory began sending money, some $600 to $800 per week came, mainly in $5 bills, from fans, probably most of whom were poor themselves, who treated it like a member of their own family had been blinded in an accident and unable to pay his bills. Then came the crushing blow that hit the nerve. While this was going on, Dog's first daughter, LaToya, known to his friends as Kisha, was born, and it was heavily pushed on television as they did interviews with the blinded Dog that he couldn't even see the birth of his first daughter due to Michael Hayes. They portrayed it as if there was no guarantee his sight would ever return and he'd ever see her.

To set up the final angle for the big match, the blinded Dog was brought to the Downtown Municipal Auditorium to thank the fans, and perhaps say goodbye to them for the last time. Today this would be angle alert, but in those days people didn't see it coming. Naturally the Freebirds, a threesome of Hayes, Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts, showed up and some sort of an angle was going to take place. Exactly what it was, only a few people know, because it didn't quite happen. A fan hopped the rail with a gun, and aimed it right at Hayes, screaming, "Don't worry Dog, I'm covering you." Dog, selling he was blind, didn't know what to do, but fortunately security hit the ring en masse and the gunman was taken, no doubt, to what was known to the wrestlers and a lot of the fans as well at the time as "the room," a place where the police would shut the door and give horrible beatings to out of control fans, hopefully dissuading them from ever becoming part of the act. It wasn't unusual after the police were done in those days for them to let the wrestler, if the fan had punched them, or Watts, who was a huge and sometimes vicious person, into the room and have them close the door behind them as well.

Still supposedly blinded, the Junkyard Dog demanded to come back for one last match, a dog collar match with Hayes, where he could feel him, where he could drag him around, and where he could smell him and it goes without saying what the end result of that match was. Actual records of what this actually drew are no longer around but there is no question it was the largest indoor wrestling crowd in history up to that point, and set attendance records locally that stand to this day. At the time it was reported as drawing in excess of 36,000 fans, but that figure was likely exaggerated and the real figure was probably just shy of 30,000, one of the bigger crowds in the history of pro wrestling up until that time. The crowd literally stunned the wrestling industry, because unlike the few stadium shows that had been done over the previous decade usually featuring a long-time local hero like Dusty Rhodes or Fritz Von Erich challenging for the world title or a big match with Sammartino, or Blassie vs. Tolos, this show was headlined by young wrestlers, The Freebirds and JYD, that literally most people in the wrestling business didn't even know about for a company that was only about one year old. The gate at the time was reported as $183,000, one of the two or three biggest up until that time ever in the United States. And actually that figure was significantly lower than the real sum as there were so many political payoffs off the top in cash in New Orleans that nobody ever knew what the accurate count was. Over the next few days, they took the same angle on the road to the other cities in the market, selling out and drawing a record house in every venue. For the week, JYD earned $12,000, a figure that nobody in wrestling unless you were Sammartino on your best week, or Andre the Giant, earned in those days. It may have been the first monster house that he drew, but it was far from the last, as when the Dog miraculously regained his eyesight, and he wrestled for a while wearing eye protecting goggles, New Orleans would usually pack them in every Monday, and when it came time to blow off the big angles at the Superdome four or five times a year, the crowds for the next few years were usually upwards of 20,000. Between 1980 and 1983 with JYD on top, it is probable that no city in North America drew as many fans to pro wrestling as New Orleans.

After coming back from that angle, Watts fed the Dog one foe after another every week, carefully protecting him at all times. Just after the Freebird angle, Len Denton was brought in as The Masked Grappler, an arrogant heel whose gimmick was that he could wrestle, and in his first television match, took JYD down and rode him to get his gimmick over, probably not realizing what the game was. Watts was furious, and nearly fired Denton on the spot and it is believed to have been the only television match ever in the history of Mid South Wrestling that Watts couldn't put his spin on and let air. The big angles, usually a tag team partner turning on him, whether it would be Paul Orndorff, Ted DiBiase, Robley, Mr. Olympia (Jerry Stubbs) or finally Butch Reed, were saved until just before a Superdome date. Watts used to tap into reality to JYD's audience for the angles, such as, with DiBiase, JYD was legitimately the best man at DiBiase's wedding and at one time, when DiBiase was working in Georgia and even though he got great national exposure, business was horrible and he was broke and behind on child support payments, JYD lent him money, all things JYD's fans could relate to. In later years, when DiBiase was making big money in WWF and JYD was down on his luck, that favor was repaid.

"There were nights in New Orleans when I quit taking my car to the building because I was afraid it would be destroyed," DiBiase remembered. "I'd drive with Grizzly (Smith) and they'd slash his tires. Sometimes I had to leave the building hiding in the trunk of a car. One time I had to leave in an ambulance."

Things were so heated that Watts wouldn't allow any of his wrestlers to leave the building until after the main event was over, in case there was a serious problem. And to make the pressure worse, if any of his top wrestlers were in a fight with a fan and would lose, it was certainly well known that they would be immediately fired because of the belief the business had to be protected.

One of the hottest issues ever, and probably the last big angle he did in Mid South, was when Reed and Ernie Ladd, two black studs, held JYD down at the Superdome and allowed a pretty boy white man, Buddy Landel, to paint him yellow.

Watts teased the Dog's audience with the big title chase, waiting until June 21, 1982 before the Dog finally pinned Bob Roop downtown to win the North American title. But their euphoria was soon quelled, as the very next weekend on television, they saw Dog's best friend and tag team partner, DiBiase, shockingly turn heel by loading his glove and stealing the title away. At a booking meeting, Watts, Grizzly Smith and Ernie Ladd were debating about a heel to bring in for a Superdome show and asked DiBiase for some ideas of someone he may know from another territory who could get hot in a hurry. After thinking about it for a while, DiBiase went back to Ladd and said he's found them the heel they were looking for--"Me." This led to another of the most lucrative house show runs in the history of the company, as by this time Mid South had expanded into Oklahoma and Arkansas when Watts took over what was left of McGuirk's operation. It built to a loser leaves town match on television where DiBiase and new partner Jim Duggan were to face Dog & Mr. Olympia, but Duggan no-showed, and instead Matt Borne took his place. Duggan, dressed in a gorilla costume, interfered, causing Dog to get pinned, and naturally he returned one week later, as the first incarnation of Stagger Lee, building up to another big Superdome house on Thanksgiving on 1982 when Stagger Lee pinned DiBiase to win the title, that he promptly sent back when JYD's 90 days were up. After Olympia then turned on Dog, Dog regained the North American title beating Olympia in a cage match on April 16, 1983 at the Dome before losing it three months later in the same building to Reed. Dog's fourth and final title run ended when he beat Reed on television on October 26, 1983, before losing it in the infamous match downtown to Wrestling II.

While all this was going on, he was, according to a local newspaper survey, by far, the most popular athlete in New Orleans, particularly among the kids. At the time, the top football star was Archie Manning and the top basketball star was Pete Maravich, both white, and JYD and Michael Spinks were the lone black sports heroes.

Watts had sent JYD to Atlanta in late 1980, being one of the first promoters to see the value in getting his top star on a national cable outlet and perhaps looking down the road at getting a foothold into that territory. Later he sent him to Houston for Paul Boesch, where JYD got over almost immediately so strong as the top babyface to the point where Watts was then able to use JYD to leverage a deal to where Watts and Mid South became a partner in Boesch's successful operation.

But if the rise of JYD was meteoric, the fall was a lot slower and more painful. He was earning about $150,000 per year as Watts' top draw, for a life consisting largely of going to the gym, travelling, partying in all those towns as a celebrity, and wrestling. Landel, who was his next-door neighbor, used to drive him from city to city and remembered Dog always giving money away to people down on their luck, and sometimes even at a restaurant telling a waiter that he wanted to pay for the dinner for someone in there he thought was down on their luck and would never let the people know who was paying for the meal. As with many wrestlers in that circuit during that time period, the travel made his marriage fall apart, although in the case of JYD, the fall was far more pronounced as his wife ended up having to be institutionalized. Whether it were those problems, or just the ready access from being a rich celebrity, the cocaine came at about the same time. While cocaine was becoming a tag team partner of many, if not most wrestlers on top in that era, with JYD it gained a more powerful grip. He stopped training, and his once hard body ballooned to up around 300 pounds again. While his ring work was never good, it actually got worse. Watts tried his best to camouflage the problem. He would explain JYD's weight gain as him having to bulk up to face the likes of Kimala and King Kong Bundy. The quality of those matches when JYD wasn't being carried by a Reed or a DiBiase was downright pathetic, particularly in a territory that was becoming known for its workrate. Still, business was still strong, largely because Watts had replenished his ranks with some strong undercard performers who carried the wrestling end of the show. But the weekly Monday night shows at the Downtown Municipal Auditorium were badly damaged when Mr. Wrestling II scored a three count on JYD to win the North American title on March 12, 1984 in a match with the mask against JYD leaving town using a loaded kneelift that actually missed badly and that Dog sold in a manner making it look that much worse. Suddenly, before their eyes, people started to think that their hero JYD had taken a dive on them, or perhaps maybe pro wrestling really was b.s. But the rest of the circuit remained strong, as did the big Superdome shows. The next one coming up had JYD for the second time (he'd done this also in 1982) coming back under a mask as Stagger Lee, teaming with Watts coming out of retirement for a match against Jim Cornette's Midnight Express broke every one of the Freebird box office records selling out just about every arena, including new ones like Houston where it set Boesch's all-time gate record, except at the Superdome, where it drew between 23,000 and 25,000 although it was really Watts who was the draw for that feud. JYD was starting to fade, both physically and as a draw although outside of New Orleans, whatever was fading was more than picked up on by a new crop of heroes like Jim Duggan, Magnum T.A., The Rock & Roll Express and Terry Taylor. His drug problems were getting worse to the point they were causing him financial problems. At about the same time, the offer from the WWF came.

In those days it was traditional for a wrestler leaving a territory to give four weeks notice so they could be written out of the storylines. For a headliner, six weeks was considered more professional. However, with no warning, JYD simply disappeared, leaving a string of no-shows in main events against Reed in every market on the circuit, and showed up immediately on WWF television. Watts was bitter and took to strongly burying JYD on his television, trying to protect his turf from the expected invasion of the WWF using JYD on top. Those close to him say that although few knew it, he did struggle with the decision, but the opportunity was there to earn more than double what he was making, and the way McMahon wanted things done at the time was for guys to leave on the spot. The two men who built the company left on the most bitter of terms. He gained his most money and most fame over the next few years, but his character and interviews that made him a folk hero were cartoonized. But he was very successful and certainly not threatening or created any dangerous heat to the largely white suburban WWF audience. One night about a year or so after his arrival, probably at his peak as far as WWF drawing power, JYD returned to the Superdome to form a tag team with Hulk Hogan, but only drew about 6,000 fans. The magic was over, although he remained a top star for several years. Another night in late 1985, which shows just how much the character had changed, when JYD headlined against Terry Funk in a predominantly black Oakland, CA drawing about 10,000 fans, the audience was lily white and the few blacks in the crowd were cheering for Funk. At about that time, Dog's ex-wife either escaped or was released from the mental hospital, and went to his parents house and kidnapped back her daughter, who was living there since Dog's life was doing 28-straight-day runs for the WWF. He immediately chartered a plane home and went to her brothers' house and broke down the door. The brother, who was a local police officer, tried to stop him, and the two scrambled trying to be the first to get a gun, which went off, shooting the police officer in the side of his stomach. It was ruled as an accidental shooting.

JYD's run at the top in the WWF would have lasted a lot longer, but his problems worsened. He started no-showing dates to the point he eventually lost his job. He became nicknamed Junkfood Dog within the industry for his fondness for twinkies and candy bars and midnight snacks, and over the years his weight ballooned to around 330 pounds. He got numerous second chances because there were still few people around with his name and charisma. He got married again, and when that marriage broke up, he lost his car, his jewelry, his home and everything.

Watts, who was legitimately scared that without his top star, it could be the end of his business, tried to recreate JYD with every black wrestler under the sun, from George Welles to Reed to Sonny King to Brickhouse Brown to The Snowman (who Watts went to the expense of bringing in Muhammad Ali to be his manager in an attempt to get him over as the new JYD) to Savannah Jack to others even less memorable, to the point it almost became a bad running joke. Watts survived well, actually flourished for a few years as most cities besides New Orleans, did better business after JYD left since the overall product and talent depth had improved so much. But after the next generation of talent he'd developed started leaving for other territories, in particular to Jim Crockett who had national exposure on TBS and was paying better, and then his new top star, Jim Duggan, left for the WWF in 1986, he eventually started losing interest in wrestling and sold his company in 1987 to Crockett for $4 million, very little of which he actually ever received.

Watts himself made two comebacks in wrestling, a famous one when put in charge of WCW in a period that was nothing short of disastrous, ending when comments he made in a Pro Wrestling Torch interview actually just when he had taken the job were about to go public, basically stating that he felt if someone owned a company, such as a restaurant, as an owner they should have the right to discriminate such as not allowing blacks into their establishment and was against laws that prohibited such behavior. Watts' defenders to this day point to the fact he went all the way with JYD, and tried to do so later with so many others that failed (including making Ron Simmons WCW world champion, yet another failed attempt to re-create the JYD magic of another time, in one of his first major moves on top), to point that he wasn't a racist, a charge he remains heavily bitter about to this day, although the comments certainly were not the type a corporate executive at TBS could get away with saying in a published interview. Besides, business was terrible at the time and his relations with the wrestlers were even worse than that as business and the world in general had changed. What Marge Schott had just been suspended from baseball for saying were things almost tame by comparison. A few years later, Watts had a brief run in the WWF, where he was received far better by the wrestlers, but left in a huff when Vince McMahon told him he'd have complete booking power, but then one week later changed his mind when Watts wanted to keep Bret Hart, who he felt was more believable, as champion rather than go with McMahon's pick of Shawn Michaels, in 1996. Watts left bitter, largely totally divorcing himself from the business, and with the exception of a conscience clearing phone call and letter to Landel, didn't even want to talk about what he referred to as "Camelot."

"I loved the man and that's all I want to say," said Watts.

Dog's last big run in the business came in 1990-91 with WCW. Anderson was the booker and trying to get the black fans back in the Southeast with a JYD vs. Ric Flair run. The matches were horrible. Probably the worst title matches of Flair's career. That wasn't unexpected. They didn't draw all that well either, which by that time also wasn't all that unexpected. JYD stuck around for a while in mid-cards before fading to the likes of the indie-world, with his final title reign coming in the USWA--a two week period from September 21, 1992 through October 12, 1992, winning the USWA title from the late Eddie Gilbert before losing to his old nemesis Butch Reed in Memphis, and when Reed then quit the territory after getting the belt and not losing it in Louisville, Dog went to Louisville as champion on October 20, 1992 and dropped it to Todd Champion. After that period, it was mainly working indies, where the reputation that ruined his career largely continued.

Over the last few years, JYD never had a stable home address. According to friends, he had made several unsuccessful attempts to lick his problems. He had at one point worked for Walmart in Las Vegas. He later bounced around to his old stomping grounds, trying to hustle indie dates based on his old name. He had tried to get back with WWF and WCW but neither company was willing to take the chance on a guy who had little going for him anymore other than the fact he was an incredible draw for a short period, and was a recognized name as part of a national wrestling boom that was also long over. He was of late living with a family in Mississippi and working in their repossession business.

On 6/1, he drove back to his home town of Wadesboro, NC for the high school graduation of LaToya, the same daughter that was born during the Freebird angle. It made a nice story that just before he died he saw his daughter one last time. Unfortunately, that didn't happen either. He arrived a few hours later. The graduation was already over. She had left with her friends to spend the night hanging out at the beach, and the next morning, when she found out he had driven in to see her, it was combined with the news that he had just died. He had spent the night with his parents and started driving home the next morning. Somewhere near Forest, MS, he rolled his car three times and was pronounced dead.

DiBiase, when giving religious speeches in JYD's old stomping grounds, would bring up what life brought the best-man at his wedding and his first huge money opponent, as an attempt to motivate kids to stay away from drugs. He had spoken to JYD just a few weeks before his death and JYD had no problem with his life being used as an example if it could motivate children to learn from his pitfalls.

JYD was buried wearing a t-shirt in Wadesboro, NC on 6/6. The man who had earned and drawn a few million dollars in the ring had only one member of the wrestling community at his funeral, his former traveling mate Landel, who spoke at the funeral. WWF, WCW and several of his former foes like The Funks and DiBiase sent flowers. He also read from the letter to him by Watts, apparently trying to make amends for the bitterness in business that estranged them. Another person who sent his best wishes to the funeral director was Michael Jordan. But it seemed that the entire town came out for the funeral, some 1,500 to 2,000 strong. They remembered him as the one of them who made it out of the town, to the top of the world, and for a brief period, created magic.

As irony would have it, that night I was out with some friends and they started talking with a 22-year-old who up until about a year ago, had lived their entire life in New Orleans. They noted that I was working on a story about New Orleans, and mentioned that the Junkyard Dog had just died this past week. "I'm sorry, but I never heard of him," was the response. Just another reminder. It really was a long time ago.

Perhaps more than anything else, what will live on about the Junkyard Dog will be this fall, during football season, when the Saints are playing at the Superdome on national television and the crowd starts chanting, "Who dem think they can beat Dem Saints? Who dem?"

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WWF OVER THE EDGE FINAL POLL RESULTS

Thumbs up 54 (35.3%)

Thumbs down 73 (47.7%)

In the middle 26 (17.0%)

 

BEST MATCH POLL

Steve Austin vs. Dude Love 149

No other match received one vote

 

WORST MATCH POLL

LOD vs. Skull & Eight Ball 68

Faarooq vs. Rocky Maivia 23

 

Based on phone calls, letters and fax messages to the Observer as of Tuesday, 6/9. Statistical margin of error: +-100%

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World Championship Wrestling on 5/18 filed what appeared to be an attempt at a mirror image countersuit against the World Wrestling Federation and the USA Network to the lawsuit filed by WWF in 1996.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, CT, asks for $2 million in punitive damages and an amount to be determined at trial in compensatory damages for claims of repeated and continuous use of WCW trademarks on television shows, violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act and citing the Lanham Act claiming both parties attempted to confuse, mistake and deceive the public at large. WCW also asked for a court injunction against both WWF and USA network to prohibit them from usage of WCW marks, disparaging the WCW product on its television programming and prohibiting using the likenesses or ring names of wrestlers under contract to WCW to promote its business.

It appears as a result of the lawsuit, the WWF has stopped firing barbs at WCW and its top talent on television or on its hotline and stopped doing features as they have done over the past nine weeks such as sending DX to WCW live events and to the WCW offices.

As with the lawsuit WWF filed nearly two years ago, largely based on the pretense that WCW tried to mislead the public into believing that WWF characters Razor Ramon and Diesel were going to wrestle against WCW wrestlers in an interpromotional match on the July 7, 1996 Bash at the Beach PPV show from Daytona Beach, FL, this suit largely consists of getting mad at name calling and other items that are largely business as usual within pro wrestling. Where WWF appears to have its strongest legal leg to stand on is that in its ignorance and arrogance, WCW on its hotline reports said things that would indicate it was an interpromotional match and hinted strongly and outright used the names Razor and Diesel, and it is believed those names were also used in internal memos before WCW settled on using the real names of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall.

The WCW lawsuit charges that in order to combat WCW's success, Titan Sports undertook a campaign of disparaging WCW, starting with the Billionaire Ted skits, attempting to give the false impression that Kevin Nash and Scott Hall would be returning to WWF as Diesel and Razor Ramon, WWF commentators denigrating WCW performers and executives on television, promoting and airing a program on USA network airing old matches with wrestlers under contract with WCW without disclosing on the shows they were no longer under contract to WWF, publication of fantasy matches in WWF magazines in which WCW performers are portrayed in hypothetical situations as being inferior to WWF performers, claiming publicly that Nash and Hall want to return to WWF but were being held hostage by WCW.

Most of the charges are frivolous, but then again, so were most of the charges by the WWF. WCW does at least have an interesting supposition in regard to the WWF's bringing in the new Razor Ramon and Diesel. The claim is that when WWF started on television promoting that Ramon and Diesel would be returning, they deliberately misled the public into believing that Hall and Nash would be returning since they deliberately withheld that different wrestlers would be brought in to use those ring names. By using the term "return," it would give the impression they were referring to Hall and Nash. In addition, in the history of the WWF, it is not known of any instances where new wrestlers were brought in to play character roles of established top stars with the exception of those whose identities were hidden under masks or clown outfits to begin with. Just as WCW on its hotline used the term The Bad Guy and Big Daddy Cool for Hall and Nash, when Hall and Nash left WWF, it was not described by WWF as Hall and Nash leaving, but as Razor and Diesel leaving.

The lawsuit cited the famous diatribe by Jim Cornette on the 10/6 Raw where he accused WCW of being a promotion with little taste and little class and denigrated the quality of human beings involved, describing one WCW wrestler (Konnan) as someone who couldn't draw money if you dipped him in Elmer's Glue and dragged him through Fort Knox" and described other WCW wrestlers as childish, obnoxious adolescent smart asses with a bad case of arrested emotional development and when praising retired wrestler Arn Anderson, claimed "not one of those jackasses

could launder (Anderson's) jockstrap." The suit also mentioned Cornette's comments on Eric Bischoff wanting to hang out with studly guys with long hair, bears, smoke cigars and ride Harleys so maybe some of that can rub off on his little pansy ass frame and the rest of the speech. It brought up the 12/1 Raw where in an effort to humiliate Jim Neidhart, DX spray painted WCW on his rear and a WWF announcer stated "the only thing more humiliating would be to work for WCW." It then brought up the 3/30 interview when Sean Waltman returned to WWF and cut his first famous promo. It claimed DX disrupted WCW business on 4/27 by "haranguing customers" on their way into the Norfolk Scope. It claimed that Waltman and Jean Levesque (Hunter Hearst Helmsley) on the USA network wore armbands which included the protected mark of "WCW."

Then, in the one open-and-shut point WCW has that is unquestionably valid in the lawsuit, it reads: "As part of its presentation on April 27, Titan willfully and maliciously represented falsely that WCW was offering free tickets to its Nitro event in Norfolk. In the professional wrestling business, the giving away of free tickets to an event on the day of the show is a response to a failure to sell out the venue, and it reflects badly on a promotion, suggesting that an insufficient number of fans are willing to pay to see the show. WCW had in fact sold out the Norfolk event far in advance. Titan falsely and maliciously telecast video footage suggesting that tickets were being given away by the juxtaposition of an unrelated message on the marquee of the Scope with the message announcing that evening's Nitro event. This maliciously altered footage was replayed on the May 2 Live Wire and the WWF Superstars that appeared on USA on May 3." Two points need to be brought up in regard to this. On the same night, April 27, Tony Schiavone made a remark about the WWF event in Hampton which was also a sellout, claiming that down the road they couldn't even give tickets away to the event, although the WWF did go farther by repeating the free tickets line throughout the show and did use fraudulent footage to mislead viewers that Nitro tickets were all or mostly free. This is every bit as equally deceptive as WCW claiming, when there was a power outage during a Nitro telecast from Lakeland, FL, insinuating on the air (which was later apologized about) and on their hotline that somehow WWF had something to do with it, which is a key point in the WWF lawsuit against WCW.

Continuing, WCW claimed WWF and USA infringed on the "CNN" trademark when Levesque performed on the May 11 show with a CNN tour pass with the CNN logo displayed on the crotch of his pants. It also brought up Levesque continual imitation of ring announcer Michael Buffer. It claimed a violation of intellectual property with the current portrayal of Waltman, claiming the name and role of X Pac in DX was a copy of the WCW mark and character of Syxx Pac with the NWO. It also claims the WWF flashback specials airing old clips from the past on USA network were promoted using names such as Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper and Randy Savage, all of whom WCW owns exclusive rights to use their likeness for promotion of pro wrestling events around the world. It also claims a violation of marks in WWF's house organ magazines which have included defamatory remarks and stories on Hogan, Flair and Virgil Runnels. The lawsuit holds USA network liable for refusing to censor the WWF programming despite knowledge that statements invaded WCW's rights.

Much of this comes off as a nuisance suit, but a lot, but again not all, of the original lawsuit did as well. As much as anything else, it was probably designed to simply get the WWF to shut up about running down WCW, just as the previous lawsuit to a great degree resulted in getting Eric Bischoff to shut up. An interesting question regards the promotion of old videotapes of matches clearly owned by the WWF but featuring stars currently under contract to WCW on television, but that seems a ridiculous point since the rights to those wrestlers matches that were aired were clearly owned by the WWF; and the idea of writing about the rival wrestlers in the house organ magazine. Clearly any wrestling magazine should be able to run those ridiculous "dream match" stories as to who would win between Sting and Steve Austin, but a WWF or a WCW house organ magazine running those stories with their wrestler winning is a lot less open-and-shut of an issue, but still, it's hard to believe a campaign of using your television to run down opposition without outright lying and fraud and just name-calling could be a strong legal case. Of course, combined with the smoking gun, which is the unquestioned fraud, replayed two more times, in attempting to get people to believe the Nitro tickets for Norfolk were all or largely free, it makes the name calling appear to be part of a larger campaign.

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Nitro received the national headlines on Tuesday morning but it was Raw that won the ratings once again.

After Dennis Rodman blew off practice to appear on Nitro on 6/8 in the middle of the NBA playoffs, the Nitro in Auburn Hills, MI immediately became a huge topic of conversation within the sports world. Rodman apparently phoned coach Phil Jackson and a trainer just before practice was scheduled to start and told them he couldn't make it. When Jackson asked him what his excuse was, Rodman simply hung up the phone and it wasn't until later that day that the Bulls and the rest of the sports world realized he had left to appear on a wrestling show. In actuality, WCW and Rodman had put together the deal on 6/4 to finalize the appearance after losing the ratings badly the week before, but WCW couldn't get full value out of Rodman because they couldn't for obvious reasons announce and hype it beforehand. It was either the first or second lead story on virtually every sports report with most of the biggies airing Nitro footage with Rodman with the women and doing the angle bashing Page with the chair and running down wrestling in the process. Rodman was fined $10,000 by the league and an undisclosed sum by the Bulls for missing the practice.

But even though WCW got Rodman on television as the show began, and made sure people knew he'd be there for several more segments, Raw captured the Monday night race for the second straight week doing a 4.26 rating (4.06 first hour; 4.46 second hour) and 6.91 share to Nitro's 4.12 rating (4.30 first hour; 4.02 second hour; 4.03 third hour) and 7.02 share. Nitro's rating over the two-hour head-to-head period was a 4.03 with a 6.69 share.

Nitro's new format of basically trying to emulate Raw with mainly an attempt at doing a hip show of mostly talking and beating Raw with more star power brought the show closer then last week's drubbing. But overall Nitro was the stronger show as Raw was its flattest episode in several weeks. Still, Raw's storylines are so much more focused, and the show won six of the eight quarters including a drubbing in the all-important final quarter, in which Raw did its best rating for the show at the end, largely by holding Steve Austin off the air for the most part until the final segment, doing a 4.76 to Nitro's 3.87 for Bill Goldberg's 99th win over Chavo Guerrero Jr. and a segment to answer that burning question that obviously nobody cared about whether or not Diamond Dallas Page would join the Wolfpac, and ending up with Page being laid out by chair shots coming from both Rodman and Hulk Hogan.

From the show and the angle at the end, it is clear that Bischoff made the call to keep Page in the 7/12 main event teaming with Karl Malone against Hogan & Rodman rather than go with Hogan's idea of putting Randy Savage in the slot. WCW hinted throughout the show of a major announcement on 6/11, which no doubt had to do with that main event, although it was unclear if Malone's name would be announced by WCW until after the conclusion of the NBA playoffs.

The two segments WCW won were segment No. 3, where the Chris Benoit vs. Booker T sixth match drew WCW's head-to-head ratings peak, which should say something when it was the good wrestling match rather than the endless talk that was the peak, with a 4.48 rating, while WWF did a 3.8 for Hart vs. Scorpio and Chainz vs. Drosdov; and the sixth segment where Nitro did a 4.3 for the Piper/Savage in-ring interview with Hogan and company watching from the luxury boxes while Raw did a 4.2 for a Sable video and Runnels vs. Venis.

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Koji Kanemoto beat Dr. Wagner Jr. in 26:17 with a Tiger suplex to capture the 1998 version of the Best of the Super Junior tournament before a sellout crowd of 8,000 on 6/3 at the new Osaka Chuo Gymnasium.

It was a surprising final of the three-week tournament, pitting a wrestler who had been on the back-burner for most of the year when the junior heavyweight focus had been on Shinjiro Otani, Jushin Liger and Kendo Ka Shin; and a wrestler from Mexico who had never received a serious push to that point with New Japan. From the reports we've received, it was a fantastic match with Wagner really getting over and being created as a new title contender in the junior heavyweight division before doing the job at the end. It was a rare opportunity for junior heavyweights to be able to work the main event in a singles match, even above the IWGP tag team title tournament. The win sets Kanemoto up for a shot at Jushin Liger's IWGP junior heavyweight belt on 7/15 in Sapporo.

The tournament was widely considered the least interesting, due to the lack of the top international junior heavyweight stars that used to be regulars such as Black Tiger (Eddie Guerrero) and Wild Pegasus (Chris Benoit), and probably meant the least at the box office overall perhaps in its history. However, it did accomplish a purpose in getting Wagner over as a legitimate star, putting focus on Kanemoto, and creating a new Japanese star in Kaz "Shiryu" Hayashi, who lost to Kanemoto in the match to determine who would go to the finals.

After the tournament ended, the junior heavyweights reportedly stole the show in the ring at the New Japan Budokan Hall show on 6/5, working a ten-man elimination tag match where Hayato Nanjyo & Wagner & Ka Shin & El Samurai & Liger beat Masakazu Fukuda & Hayashi & Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Otani & Kanemoto in 27:46 of what was said by many to be the best match in Japan thus far this year. There were a lot of interesting booking twists in the elimination, as Kanemoto, in line for the next title shot, pinned Liger with Liger's own brainbuster off the top rope, while Wagner then gained revenge pinning Kanemoto using a Michinoku Driver. Takaiwa, who didn't do well in the tournament, then used his death valley driver to pin Wagner. The match ended up coming down to Ka Shin left with both Hayashi and Takaiwa, and in less than 2:00, made both submit using his armbar.

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This is the second issue of the current four-issue set. If you've got a (1) on your address label, it means your Observer subscription expires in two weeks.

Renewal rates within the United States, Canada and Mexico remain $10 for four issues (which includes $4 for postage and handling), $19 for eight, $27 for 12, $36 for 16, $54 for 24, $72 for 32 up through $90 for 40 issues.

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All subscription renewals should be sent to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228. All letters to the editor, reports from live shows and any other correspondence pertaining to this publication should also be sent to the above address.

Copyright 1998 Wrestling Observer. All material in this publication is considered copyright material and no portion of the Observer may be reprinted without the expressed consent of Dave Meltzer.

Fax messages can be sent to the Observer 24 hours a day at 408-244-3402. Phone messages can be left 24 hours a day at 408-244-2455. You can also leave major show poll results or send live show reports to either number. We are always looking for reports from major offices, particularly after the WWF or WCW television tapings, so we can get the news and results from the tapings into that week's issue. In particular, if you are planning on attending a WWF or WCW Tuesday night taping, please contact us ahead of time and we'll hold up our usual Tuesday afternoon press deadline if we know in advance we'll be getting a report on the show immediately after its conclusion.

For the most up-to-date wrestling information, I can be reached every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the Wrestling Observer Hotline (900-903-9030/99 cents per minute/children under 18 need parents permission before calling) with a recorded news update. We also have updates on all PPV events on options seven and eight. I'm on option seven approximately 20 minutes after the conclusion of the show and we immediately run down the major angles and results before getting into the details of the show. The option eight reports will be up later that evening. The reports stay on the hotline until the next PPV show.

Upcoming shows covered will be 6/14 WCW Great American Bash, 6/28 WWF King of the Ring, 7/12 WCW Bash at the Beach, 7/26 WWF In Your House, 8/2 ECW Heat Wave, 8/7 K-1 (option seven only, up only one day), 8/8 New Japan Osaka Dome (option five only, available at about 2 p.m. Eastern time on 8/8), 8/8 WCW Road Wild and 8/30 WWF SummerSlam.

On Tuesdays, option one features coverage of Nitro and option two features coverage of Raw. Other reports are done by Georgiann Makropolous (Sunday), Bryan Alvarez (Sunday, Wednesday), Mike Mooneyham (Monday), Steve Beverly (Tuesday, Friday, Saturday), Bruce Mitchell (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) and Steven Prazak (Thursday).

 

MAJOR EVENTS CALENDAR 6/12 TO 7/12

6/12 All Japan Tokyo Budokan Hall (Kawada vs. Kobashi)

6/13 WCW Pittsburgh A.J. Palumbo Center (Sting vs. Giant)

6/14 WCW Great American Bash PPV Baltimore Arena (Hogan & Hart vs. Savage & Piper)

6/14 WWF Dallas Reunion Arena (Austin vs. Helmsley)

6/15 WCW Nitro Uniondale, NY Nassau Coliseum

6/15 WWF Raw is War/Shotgun tapings San Antonio, TX Freeman Coliseum

6/16 WWF Raw is War/Shotgun tapings Austin, TX Frank Irwin Center

6/18 WCW Thunder Philadelphia Core States Spectrum

6/19 WWF Houston Compaq Center (Austin vs. Helmsley)

6/20 WWF Oklahoma City Myriad Center (Austin vs. Helmsley)

6/20 USWF Amarillo Fairgrounds Arena (Tanner vs. Castillo)

6/20 RINGS Tokyo Korakuen Hall (Kohsaka vs. Kenichi Yamamoto)

6/20 All Japan Women Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center (Toyota vs. Hotta)

6/21 WCW Richmond, VA Coliseum (Sting vs. Giant)

6/21 Pancrase Kobe Fashion Mart Atrium (Mezger vs. Schiltt)

6/22 WCW Nitro Jacksonville, FL Coliseum

6/23 Memphis Power Pro Memphis Mid South Coliseum (Lawler vs. Kane)

6/24 KRS Pride Three Tokyo Budokan Hall (Takada vs. Sturgeon)

6/24 WCW Thunder Orlando, FL Arena

6/27 ECW Philadelphia ECW Arena

6/27 RINGS Tokyo Bay NK Hall (Tamura vs. Kohsaka)

6/27 WWF Boston Fleet Center (Austin & Undertaker & LOD vs. Helmsley & Outlaws & Kane)

6/28 WWF King of the Ring PPV Pittsburgh Civic Arena (Austin vs. Kane)

6/28 New Japan Nagano Big Hut Winter Olympic Hall

6/29 WCW Nitro Tampa, FL Ice Palace

6/29 WWF Raw is War/Shotgun tapings Cleveland Gund Arena

6/30 WWF Raw is War/Shotgun tapings State College, PA Brice Jordan Center

7/2 WCW Thunder Columbus, GA Civic Center

7/2 WWF Winnipeg, MB Arena (Austin vs. Maivia)

7/4 WWF Vancouver, BC General Motors Place (Austin vs. Maivia)

7/4 Fuyuki Gun Nagoya City Gymnasium (Fuyuki & Kanemura vs. Onita & Hayabusa)

7/6 WCW Nitro Atlanta Georgia Dome (Hogan vs. Goldberg)

7/7 Pancrase Tokyo Korakuen Hall (Neo Blood tournament)

7/8 WCW Thunder Birmingham, AL BJCC

7/10 WCW Los Angeles Great Western Forum (Hogan vs. Savage)

7/12 WCW Bash at the Beach PPV San Diego Cox Arena

 

RESULTS

 

5/30 Hamilton, OH (Heartland Wrestling Association): Chad Collier b Bobby Kane-DQ, Mike Fugate b G.Q. Masters III, Cousin Elmer b Brian Taylor, Leviathon b Chip Fairway-COR, Terek the Great b Shark Boy, Fairway & Fugate & Elmer b Leviathon & Taylor & Kane

5/31 Houston (UWA): Jag b Dynamite Kid (not original), Red Dog b Joey Comeaux, Bubba Monroe & Dapper Dan b Wichita Willie & Rick Garren, Big Manu b Black Rhino, Mark Von Erich b Rod Price

6/1 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (WAR - 500): Takashi Okamura b Battle Ranger, Jun Kikuchi & Shoichi Ichinomiya b Yoshiya Yamashita & Akinori Tsukioka, Keisuke Yamada b Tadahiro Ishii, Jushin Liger b Masaaki Mochizuki, Nobutaka Araya b Tadao Yasuda

6/1 Demizu (Neo Ladies): Saya Endo b Oriental, Yoshiko Tamura b Yuka Shiina, Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda b Chaparita Asari & Rossy Moreno, Kyoko Inoue b Misae Genki

6/2 Honjyo (All Japan - 1,800): Masao Inoue b Makoto Hashi, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Tamon Honda b Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Maunukea Mossman, David Heath & Giant Kimala II b Kentaro Shiga & Takao Omori, Jun Izumida & Haruka Eigen & Masa Fuchi b Giant Baba & Rusher Kimura & Mitsuo Momota, Johnny Smith & Johnny Ace b Jun Akiyama & Satoru Asako, Kenta Kobashi b Bobby Duncum Jr., Steve Williams & Gary Albright & Wolf Hawkfield b Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue & Yoshinari Ogawa

6/2 Nebulo (Big Japan): Shunme Matsuzaki b Bufalo Salvaje, Neftaly & Aya Koyama b Hidemi Takenao & Miho Kawasaki, Makoto Saito b Yuichi Taniguchi, Shadow WX b Gennosuke Kobayashi, Masayoshi Motegi & Ryuji Yamakawa b Tomoaki Honma & Minoru Fujita, Osamu Kawahara & Isao Takagi b Kendo Nagasaki & Kishin Kawabata, Street fight: Jason the Terrible & Daikokubo Benkei & Shoji Nakamaki b Shadow Winger & Shadow VII & Great Pogo

6/2 Denton, TX (NWA Southwest Championship Wrestling - 200): Mark Cox b Jimmy Cain, Critical Mass b Generation X St. James, Bill Irwin b Bullman Downs, Kit Carson b Khris Germany, Texas Brass Knux title: Crusher Kong b Action Jackson to become first champion

6/2 Piedras Negras, Mexico (ICW): Mascarita Sagrada & Octagoncito b Pequeno Pierroth & Piratita Morgan, John Saxon & Mr. Wrestling III (Dale Wolfe) & Salomon Grundy b Natural Born Killer & Mansbasa & One Man Gang-DQ, Antifaz del Norte & Arandu b Super Crazy & Mosco de la Merced, Vampiro Canadiense & Tarzan Boy & Brazo de Plata b Black Magic & Pirata Morgan & Rey Bucanero

6/3 Osaka Chuo Gymnasium (New Japan - 8,000 sellout): Kazuyuki Fujita b Akitoshi Saito, Kendo Ka Shin & El Samurai & Jushin Liger b Shiryu & Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Shinjiro Otani, Shinya Hashimoto & Tadao Yasuda b Tatsumi Fujinami & Osamu Nishimura, Satoshi Kojima & Manabu Nakanishi b Michiyoshi Ohara & Tatsutoshi Goto, Kensuke Sasaki & Kazuo Yamazaki b Michael Wallstreet & Big Titan, Genichiro Tenryu & Shiro Koshinaka b Nakanishi & Kojima, Masahiro Chono & Hiroyoshi Tenzan b Sasaki & Yamazaki, Top of the Super Junior tournament final: Koji Kanemoto b Dr. Wagner Jr.

6/3 Hammond, IN (WWF - 3,554): Head Bangers b Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor, Faarooq b Mark Henry, Steve Blackman b Jeff Jarrett, Too Cold Scorpio b D-Lo Brown, Bradshaw b Kama Mustafa, Submission match: Ken Shamrock b Owen Hart, New Age Outlaws & Hunter Hearst Helmsley b LOD 2000 & Vader, Dustin Runnels & Terry Funk b Savio Vega & Jose Estrada Jr., Steve Austin & Undertaker b Kane & Mankind

6/3 Akita (All Japan - 2,050): Tsuyoshi Kikuchi b Takeshi Morishima, Kentaro Shiga & Satoru Asako b Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Yoshinari Ogawa, Bobby Duncum Jr. & David Heath b Masao Inoue & Jun Izumida, Giant Baba & Rusher Kimura & Mitsuo Momota b Haruka Eigen & Masa Fuchi & Giant Kimala II, Johnny Smith & Wolf Hawkfield b Maunukea Mossman & Johnny Ace, Steve Williams & Gary Albright b Tamon Honda & Akira Taue, Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama b Toshiaki Kawada & Takao Omori

6/3 Obihiro (Big Japan): Shadow WX b Yuichi Taniguchi, Ryuji Yamakawa b Tomoaki Honma, Daikokubo Benkei & Kishin Kawabata b Minoru Fujita & Gennosuke Kobayashi, Fujita won Battle Royal, Isao Takagi & Osamu Kawahara b Kendo Nagasaki & Shunme Matsuzaki, Shoji Nakamaki & Jason the Terrible & Masayoshi Motegi b Great Pogo & Shadow Winger & Shadow VII

6/4 Peoria, IL (WCW Thunder - 8,825 sellout/8,559 paid): Jim Duggan b Mike Enos, Booker T b Chris Benoit ***1/2, Ron Reis b Van Hammer, Alex Wright b Eddie Guerrero-DQ, WCW TV title: David Finlay b Psicosis, Glacier b Perry Saturn, WCW cruiserweight title: Dean Malenko NC Silver King, Raven b Disco Inferno, Bill Goldberg b Barbarian & Hugh Morrus, Lex Luger & Diamond Dallas Page b The Giant & Brian Adams 1/2*

6/4 Hartford, CT (WWF - 7,480): Head Bangers b Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor *, Faarooq b Mark Henry-DQ *1/4, Too Cold Scorpio b D-Lo Brown **, Jeff Jarrett b Steve Blackman 3/4*, Hunter Hearst Helmsley & New Age Outlaws b LOD 2000 & Vader **, Bradshaw b Kama Mustafa DUD, Dustin Runnels & Terry Funk b Savio Vega & Jose Estrada Jr. *1/2, Submission match: Ken Shamrock b Owen Hart **1/2, Steve Austin & Undertaker b Mankind & Kane **3/4

6/4 Takamatsu (New Japan - 2,500): Kazuyuki Fujita b Masakazu Fukuda, Dr. Wagner Jr. b Felino, Koji Kanemoto & Tatsuhito Takaiwa b El Samurai & Kendo Ka Shin, Kaz Hayashi & Shinjiro Otani b Hayato Nanjyo & Jushin Liger, Kensuke Sasaki & Takashi Iizuka b Kengo Kimura & Tatsutoshi Goto, Tadao Yasuda & Shinya Hashimoto b Manabu Nakanishi & Satoshi Kojima, Tatsumi Fujinami & Osamu Nishimura b Kazuo Yamazaki & Junji Hirata, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Big Titan & Michael Wallstreet & Masahiro Chono b Akitoshi Saito & Michiyoshi Ohara & Shiro Koshinaka & Genichiro Tenryu

6/4 Lula, MS (Memphis Power Pro - 250): Kid Wicked d Master B, Billy Travis b Lance Jade, Tony Falk & Brandon Baxter b Ashley Hudson & Jackie, Texas death match: Paul Diamond & B.J. Awesome b Mr. Wrestling & Spellbinder, Match must end with piledriver: Tracy Smothers b Jerry Lawler

6/4 Bound Brook, NJ (United Championship Wrestling - 975): Da Bums b Riot Squad, Ray Odyssey b Ace Darling, Sweet Destiny b Shy Shadow, Cousin Luke b Equalizer, Devon Storm DCOR Kid USA Armand, Tommy Cairo b Derrick Domino, Doink the Clown (Ray Apollo) b Tom Brandi, Tito Santana b Manny Fernandez, Bam Bam Bigelow b King Kong Bundy

6/5 Tokyo Budokan Hall (New Japan - 13,000): Tadao Yasuda b Yutaka Yoshie, Satoshi Kojima b Kazuyuki Fujita, Manabu Nakanishi b Osamu Nishimura, Elimination match: Hayato Nanjyo & Dr. Wagner Jr. & Kendo Ka Shin & El Samurai & Jushin Liger b Masakazu Fukuda & Kaz Hayashi & Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Shinjiro Otani & Koji Kanemoto, Kensuke Sasaki & Kazuo Yamazaki b Michael Wallstreet & Big Titan, Don Frye b Yoshiaki Fujiwara, IWGP tag titles: Masahiro Chono & Hiroyoshi Tenzan b Shiro Koshinaka & Genichiro Tenryu to win vacant titles, IWGP hwt title: Tatsumi Fujinami b Shinya Hashimoto

6/5 New York Madison Square Garden (WWF - 19,506 sellout/16,814 paid): Head Bangers b Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor, Faarooq NC Mark Henry, Too Cold Scorpio b D-Lo Brown, Dustin Runnels & Terry Funk b Savio Vega & Jose Estrada Jr., Submission match: Ken Shamrock b Owen Hart, WWF tag titles: New Age Outlaws b LOD 2000, Bradshaw b Kama Mustafa, Jeff Jarrett b Steve Blackman, European title: Hunter Hearst Helmsley b Vader, Steve Austin & Undertaker b Mankind & Kane

6/5 Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center (All Japan - 3,800): Maunukea Mossman & Makoto Hashi b Takeshi Morishima & Yoshinari Ogawa, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Satoru Asako b Gran Naniwa & Super Delfin, Jun Izumida & Giant Kimala II b David Heath & Bobby Duncum Jr., Giant Baba & Rusher Kimura & Mitsuo Momota b Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Haruka Eigen & Masa Fuchi, Johnny Smith & Wolf Hawkfield b Kentaro Shiga & Masao Inoue, Steve Williams d Jun Akiyama, Gary Albright & Yoshihiro Takayama b Tamon Honda & Takao Omori, PWF & Int'l tag titles: Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue b Kenta Kobashi & Johnny Ace

6/5 Harrisburg, PA (ECW - 1,100 sellout): Justin Credible b Jerry Lynn, Axl Rotten & Balls Mahoney b Tracy Smothers & Little Guido, Taz b Chris Chetti, Jack Victory b John Kronus, Chris Candido b Al Snow, Sabu b Danny Doring, ECW TV title: Rob Van Dam b Mike Lozansky, Sandman & Tommy Dreamer & Spike Dudley b Buh Buh Ray & D-Von & Spike Dudley

6/5 Munford, TN (Memphis Power Pro Wrestling - 126): Young Guns title: Kid Wicked b Ashley Hudson-DQ, Samantha b Paula Bunyon, Tony Falk b Beau James, Spellbinder b B.J. Awesome, Bill Dundee & Hudson b Billy Travis & Paul Diamond-DQ

6/5 Kawasaki (JD): Lioness Asuka & Fung Suzuki b Cooga & Miyuki Sogabe, TWF jr. title: Bloody b Sumie Sakai, TWF tag titles: Jaguar Yokota & Yuko Kosugi b Chikako Shiratori & Yuki Lee

6/5 Toyama (JWP): Kayuki Haruyama b Erika Watanabe, Sari Osumi b Tomiko Sai, Tomoko Miyaguchi b Osumi, Tomoko Kuzumi & Haruyama b Rieko Amano & Watanabe, Cuty Suzuki & Commando Boirshoi & Devil Masami b Dynamite Kansai & Hikari Fukuoka & Kanako Motoya

6/5 Hopkinsville, KY (Music City Wrestling): Chris Michaels d Rex King, Skinny Kenny b Frenchy Riviera, Reno Riggins b Tommy Rose, Deputy Dog b Atomic Dog, Colorado Kid & Shane Eden b Riggins & Steven Dunn

6/5 Hollabrunn, Austria (CWA - 300): Franz Schumann won Royal Rumble, Christian Eckstein b Karl Dauberger, Tony St. Clair b Cannonball Grizzly-DQ, Michael Kovac b Indian Warrior, David Morgan b Karsten Krestchmar, Schumann b Eddy Steinblock-COR

6/5 Irwin, PA (Steel City Wrestling TV taping): Toby Cline b Paul Mitchell, Don Montoya b Julio Sanchez, Reckless Youth b Joey Matthews, Tom Brandi b Jimmy Cicero, Big Neal b Vladimir Vampyre, Mitchell b Cue Ball Carmichael, Christian York b Matthews, Pit Bulls b Intimidators-DQ, Youth d Mike Quackenbush, Intimidators b Cline & Vampyre, Brandi & Dennis Gregory b Lou Marconi & Stevie Richards, Frank Stalletto b Carmichael, York b Quackenbush, Gregory b Montoya, Sanchez b Lou Marconi, Pit Bulls b Carmichael & Cicero

6/6 Zurich, Switzerland (K-1 - 12,000 sellout): One-night tournament: Jabit Bylami b Matil Minonjio, Rob Van Esdank b Ashil Raza, Roy Hoffman b Atila Husko, Stefan Leko b Peter Magistro-Vic, Von Esdank b Bylami, Leko b Hoffman, Leko b Von Esdank to win tournament, Martin DeFlorence b Peter Cook, Andy Hug b Peter Aerts

6/6 Philadelphia ECW Arena (ECW - 1,100): I Quit match: Jerry Lynn b Justin Credible, John Kronus b Jamie Dundee, Chris Chetti b Danny Doring, Tracy Smothers & Little Guido b Blue Meanie & Super Nova, Balls Mahoney b Mike Lozansky, Axl Rotten b Al Snow, Sabu & Rob Van Dam b Shane Douglas & Chris Candido, Cage match: Buh Buh Ray & D-Von & Big Dick Dudley & Jack Victory b Sandman & Tommy Dreamer & Spike Dudley & New Jack

6/6 Minneapolis (WWF - 7,324): Too Cold Scorpio b D-Lo Brown, Jeff Jarrett b Steve Blackman, Bradshaw b Kama Mustafa, Faarooq b Mark Henry-DQ, Head Bangers b Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor, Dustin Runnels & Terry Funk b Savio Vega & Jose Estrada Jr., Submission match: Ken Shamrock b Owen Hart, European title: Hunter Hearst Helmsley b Vader, WWF tag titles: New Age Outlaws b LOD 2000, Steve Austin & Undertaker b Mankind & Kane

6/6 Fort Wayne, IN (WCW - 3,998): WCW TV title: David Finlay b Mike Enos, Juventud Guerrera & Psicosis b Damian & Norman Smiley, Brian Adams b Hugh Morrus, Jim Duggan b Barbarian, WCW cruiserweight title: Dean Malenko b Chris Jericho, U.S. title: Bill Goldberg b Perry Saturn, Kevin Nash b Diamond Dallas Page, Sting b The Giant

6/6 Asahikawa (All Japan - 1,600): Masao Inoue b Takeshi Morishima, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Yoshinari Ogawa b Makoto Hashi & Maunukea Mossman, Tamon Honda & Takao Omori b David Heath & Bobby Duncum Jr., Haruka Eigen & Masa Fuchi & Giant Kimala II b Mitsuo Momota & Rusher Kimura & Giant Baba, Johnny Smith & Wolf Hawkfield b Kentaro Shiga & Akira Taue, Jun Akiyama & Jun Izumida b Toshiaki Kawada & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, Gary Albright & Yoshihiro Takayama & Steve Williams b Kenta Kobashi & Johnny Ace & Satoru Asako

6/6 Osaka (All Japan women - 1,000): Tomoka Isozaki b Mayumi Takahashi, Nana Nakahara b Sachie Nishibori, Noriko Toyoda b Miyuki Fujii, Masked Zaps b Takako Inoue & Kayo Noumi, Super Delfin & Gran Naniwa b Naohiro Hoshikawa & Tiger Mask, Yumiko Hotta b Nanae Takahashi, Manami Toyota & Miho Wakizawa b Kumiko Maekawa & Momoe Nakanishi

6/6 Mie (JWP): Sari Osumi b Tomiko Sai, Erika Watanabe b Kayuki Haruyama, Tomoko Kuzumi & Watanabe b Osumi & Haruyama, Cuty Suzuki & Dynamite Kansai b Tomoko Miyaguchi & Kanako Motoya, Rieko Amano & Hikari Fukuoka b Commando Boirshoi & Devil Masami

6/6 Gotenba (WAR): Niihao b Yoshikazu Taru, Mizuki Endo b Michiko Nagashima-DQ, Masaaki Mochizuki b Hirofumi Miura, Keisuke Yamada & Akinori Tsukioka b Tomohiro Ishii & Jun Kikuchi

6/6 Nashville, TN (Music City Wrestling NWA 50th anniversary show - 550): Rockin Randy b Eric Freedom, Frenchie Riviera b Jason Lee, Terry Golden b Chris Walker, Skinny Kenny b Tommy Rose, Deputy Dog b Atomic Dog, Shane Eden & Chris Michaels b Andy Anderson & Brickhouse Brown, Rex King & Flash Flanagan NC Steven Dunn & Reno Riggins, NA title: Colorado Kid b Wolfie D

6/6 Memphis, TN (Memphis Power Pro Wrestling TV - 100): B.J. Awesome NC Ashley Hudson, Spellbinder NC Awesome, Jackie b Brandon Baxter-DQ, Kid Wicked won three-way to keep Young Guns title over Bobby Brawnz and Lance Jade, Bill Dundee b Billy Travis-DQ

6/6 Manamanee, WI (Wrestling America 2000 - 540): Buck Zumhofe b Cobra-DQ, Robbie Thunder b Jungle Fighter, Lenny Lane b Scotty Z, Randy Gusto b Angus, Bobby Dean b Little Tokyo, Charlie Norris & Sam Houston b One Man Gang & Hater-DQ, Jim Brunzell b King Kong Bundy

6/6 Dorchester, MA (NWA New England TV taping - 427): Jeff Mangles b Rocky Shore, Public Enemy b Joel Davis & Ralph Lano, Ray Odyssey b Bob Evans, Tombstone b Slick Wagner Brown, Curtis Slamdawg & Ron Zombie b Jay Jaillette & Mercenary, Tre b Millenium, Val Puccio b Joel Davis & Trooper Gilmore, Eric Sbraccia b Ralph Lano, Joe Gulla b Gilmore, Puccio b Bo Douglas, Mercenary b Slamdawg, Odyssey b Tre-DQ, Public Enemy DDQ Knuckles Nelson & Tombstone

6/6 Lewiston, ME (Eastern Wrestling Alliance - 300): Ritchie Rich b Detroit Rocker-DQ, Steve Ramsey b Ivan Grunoff, Robbie Ellis b Jason Quid, Rick Fuller b Freight Train, Dave Vicious b Colorado Kid (not MCW wrestler), Power Company DCOR Hercules Kelly & Scotty the Body, Kid USA b El Mascarado, Tony Atlas b Iron Sheik

6/6 South Bridge, NJ (American Wrestling Council): Overweight Lover b Alexi Taktarov, Lupus b Judas Young, Rik Ratchet b Kevin Knight, Harley Lewis & Derrick Domino b Julio Sanchez & Rocco Dorsey, Reckless Youth won four-corners match over Twiggy Ramirez, J.R. Ryder and Lance Diamond, Steve Corino & Mike Kehner b A.J. Sparxx & Tom Brandi

6/6 Tacoma, WA (Cascade Championship Wrestling): Randy Taylor b Sumito, Dave Dobashi NC Kenny Roberts, Mike Jones b Ed Moretti-COR, Nick Allen b Inferno-DQ, Jones won Battle Royal

6/7 Kitamishi (All Japan - 1,600): Yoshinobu Kanemaru b Makoto Hashi, Kentaro Shiga & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi b Takeshi Morishima & Maunukea Mossman, Yoshinari Ogawa b David Heath, Jun Izumida & Haruka Eigen & Masa Fuchi b Giant Baba & Rusher Kimura & Mitsuo Momota, Giant Kimala II b Bobby Duncum Jr., Johnny Smith & Wolf Hawkfield b Satoru Asako & Johnny Ace, Jun Akiyama & Tamon Honda b Masao Inoue & Kenta Kobashi, Gary Albright & Steve Williams & Yoshihiro Takayama b Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue & Takao Omori

6/7 Niigata (Big Japan): Masayoshi Motegi b Bufalo Salvaje, Neftaly & Aya Koyama b Hidemi Takenao & Miho Kawasaki, Yuichi Taniguchi b Tadahiro Fujisaki, Minoru Fujita b Makoto Saito, Kendo Nagasaki & Shunme Matsuzaki b Tomoaki Honma & Kishin Kawabata, Isao Takagi & Osamu Kawahara b Daikokubo Benkei & Gennosuke Kobayashi, Shoji Nakamaki & Jason the Terrible & Masked GK & Ryuji Yamakawa b Great Pogo & Shadow WX & Shadow Winger & Shadow VII

6/7 Kawasaki (All Japan women): Takako Inoue b Miyuki Fujii, Kumiko Maekawa & Nanae Takahashi b Zap I & Zap Nakahara, Zap T b Miho Wakizawa, Manami Toyota & Yumiko Hotta b Momoe Nakanishi & Kayo Noumi

6/7 Yokkaichi (JWP): Tomiko Sai b Erika Watanabe, Kayuki Haruyama b Sai, Kanako Motoya & Rieko Amano b Sari Osumi & Devil Masami, Tomoko Miyaguchi & Cuty Suzuki & Dynamite Kansai b Hikari Fukuoka & Tomoko Kuzumi & Commando Boirshoi

6/7 Springfield, TN (Music City Wrestling - 85): Flash Flanagan b Tommy Rose, Brickhouse Brown b Chris Michaels, Shane Eden b Andy Anderson, Colorado Kid DCOR Wolfie D

6/7 East Boston, MA (NWA New England - 40,000/free show as part of WEEI Sports Festival): Knuckles Nelson b Mercenary, Jeff Mangles b Rocky Shore, Tre b Slick Wagner Brown, Bo Douglas b Trooper Gilmore, Ron Zombie b Joel Davis, Joe Gulla b Jason Rage, Tombstone b Ralph Lano, Eric Sbraccia b Mike Lano

6/8 Auburn Hills, MI The Palace (WCW Nitro - 16,233 sellout): Yuji Nagata b Jerry Flynn, Horace Boulder & Ron Reis b Juventud Guerrera & Van Hammer 1/4*, Eddie Guerrero NC Scott Putski, Booker T b Chris Benoit ***1/2, WCW TV title: David Finlay b Norman Smiley **1/4, WCW cruiserweight title: Dean Malenko b Disco Inferno, U.S. title: Bill Goldberg b Chavo Guerrero Jr., Sting b The Giant

6/9 Aomori (All Japan - 1,600): Satoru Asako b Makoto Hashi, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi b Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Yoshinari Ogawa & Masao Inoue b Wolf Hawkfield & David Heath, Jun Izumida & Haruka Eigen & Masa Fuchi b Giant Baba & Rusher Kimura & Mitsuo Momota, Bobby Duncum Jr. & Giant Kimala II b Takao Omori & Kentaro Shiga, Steve Williams & Gary Albright b Jun Akiyama & Maunukea Mossman, Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue & Tamon Honda b Kenta Kobashi & Johnny Ace & Johnny Smith

 

Special thanks to: Bobby Baum, Ben McKinney, James Blair, Dan Reilley, Keith Lagasse, Chuck Morris, Dominick Valenti, George Wren, Michael Omansky, Philip Laine, Trent Van Drisse, Gary Graham, Stacy McMackin, Ed Sharkey, Peter Jedlicska, Rich Palladino, Erin Montgomery, Bob Garst, Chris Thomas, Mike Rodgers, Martin Mendizabol, Steve "Dr. Lucha" Sims, Dominick Valenti, Gene Pettit

 

NEW JAPAN SUPER JUNIOR TOURNAMENT FINALS HISTORY

1988 - Shiro Koshinaka beat Hiroshi Hase

1991 - Norio Honaga beat Jushin Liger (Keiichi Yamada)

1992 - Jushin Liger beat El Samurai (Osamu Matsuda)

1993 - Pegasus Kid (Chris Benoit) beat El Samurai

1994 - Jushin Liger beat Super Delfin (Hiro Wakida)

1995 - Wild Pegasus (Chris Benoit) beat Shinjiro Otani

1996 - Black Tiger (Eddie Guerrero) beat Jushin Liger

1997 - El Samurai beat Koji Kanemoto

1998 - Koji Kanemoto beat Dr. Wagner Jr. (Manuel Gonzalez Jr.)

MEXICO: We only have sketchy details on the two big weekend shows. On 6/5, the EMLL's anniversary show at Arena Mexico drew a big house but not a sellout as Rayo de Jalisco Jr. beat Steele (Val Venis) in the mask vs. mask match. The only other thing we heard about the show is that Mr. Aguila was heavily booed as a babyface because the word was out that he had dishonored Mexican tradition by taking his mask off for no reason in the United States and that his U.S. name Papichulo is kind of a gay pimp type of name

The only thing we heard about the first TripleMania on 6/7 in Chihuahua is that Kickboxer beat Heavy Metal in the main event which meant that referee Tropicasas (Pepe Casas), who is Heavy's father had to get his head shaved

Los Villanos are close to jumping to EMLL

Promo Azteca is supposed to get back on television with a starting date to be announced this week but basically the word is that it'll be as soon as Mexico is eliminated from the World Cup

6/12 in Tijuana at the Auditorio Promociones de Mora is running with El Hijo del Santo & La Parka & Felino vs. Dr. Wagner Jr. & Blue Panther & Psicosis, Tarzan Boy & Super Astro & The Kiss vs. Rey Misterio & Fishman & Damian and Arandu & Mr. Tempest & Thunderbird vs. El Hijo del Enfermero & Sueno Chicano and Depredator as the top matches. It is interesting to note Parka on the program as the last word we received is that he has to undergo reconstructive knee surgery for a torn ACL and will be out of action until around October and that also will be holding up his much ballyhooed EMLL debut and probably postpone his mask vs. mask match with Pierroth Jr. set for 7/20 in Nuevo Laredo which is the biggest match of the year in Mexico

CMLL has the same building booked on 6/19 with Steele without the mask for the first time in Tijuana against Rayo de Jalisco Jr. in what is sure to be a horrible singles match

One Man Gang is now working the Northern territory such as Nuevo Laredo, which is still the hottest drawing part of Mexico, feuding with Salomon Grundy.

ALL JAPAN: Business continues to be terrible on this tour leading to the 6/12 Budokan show. The second biggest show of the tour was 6/5 in Sapporo before 3,800 fans with Akira Taue & Toshiaki Kawada retaining their Double tag team titles beating Kenta Kobashi & Johnny Ace in 30:26 when Taue pinned Kobashi after his Dynamic bomb (Liger bomb). The result goes against the normal All Japan booking where the next challenger for the heavyweight title (Kobashi) is generally protected and put over strong leading to the title match making fans believe the challenger is on a role and ready to win the belt. Perhaps the new theory of booking is that fans are smart enough to believe jobs among the top guys are traded and that with Kobashi doing the job in this match, it means he'll probably go over in Budokan. Kobashi legitimately blew out his knee once again, I believe in either that match or on the next night and was told to stay out of action for several weeks, but with Mitsuharu Misawa on the shelf and the mentality in this group, he didn't even miss a match. There have been pretty strong hints that Taue will challenge for the Triple Crown at the following Budokan against the Kawada-Kobashi winner, and if Kobashi wins, this does wind up all making sense using old-time booking theory. They are also building up Yoshihiro Takayama, as sick as this sounds, for another singles match with Kawada. The other top result, however, makes no sense as Steve Williams and Jun Akiyama went to a 30:00 draw. Akiyama had never beaten Williams, who finishes up with the company on 6/12, so this was his last chance. Williams was kept strong the entire tour as he'd yet to do a job, and since it was his final tour, there is no logic as to any result other than Akiyama winning. Williams & Gary Albright have gone undefeated in tag matches on this tour which also makes little sense since they are apparently positioning Albright & Takayama as a new tag team. Also in Sapporo was the debut of Super Delfin & Gran Naniwa from Michinoku Pro, losing to Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Satoru Asako of All Japan in 11:55 when Asako pinned Naniwa. Apparently this also got over pretty well. Giant Baba after the show was impressed enough that he talked about putting together a serious junior heavyweight division which is only about two decades behind the times. Delfin said that he wanted to wrestle more in All Japan, particularly to work a future Budokan Hall date and also bring in Naohiro Hoshikawa, Masato Yakushiji, Tiger Mask and Yone Genjin. Later in the week, Great Sasuke, who will return to action after major knee surgery in July or August, said that he also would like to work in All Japan. Also at the show they held a charity auction and the highest bid was for a Kobashi ring jacket which went for $3,200

5/24 TV show did a 4.8 rating.

NEW JAPAN: It's pretty clear that the relations between New Japan and WCW were put back together as Chris Benoit and Brian Adams, and perhaps Scott Norton, will be going back to Japan in July and they are pushing Chono's group more strongly as NWO once again, and I guess with Adams coming in as part of their team, they're the white and black NWO

The biggest angle came at the 6/5 Budokan Hall show before a near sellout of 13,000 fans. It was a backstage deal with Naoya Ogawa and New Japan President Seiji Sakaguchi. In the storyline Ogawa had refused to wrestle on the show, and refused to meet with Sakaguchi when Sakaguchi came to the U.S. as Sakaguchi wanted Ogawa to wrestle on the Budokan show and on upcoming tours because of the belief Ogawa would sell tickets appearing for the first time in the regular cities on tour. Sakaguchi was then mad because Ogawa refused to even talk with him. Ogawa was at Budokan Hall and went to Sakaguchi and the two started yelling at each other before the card started. Sakaguchi told Ogawa to leave (this was all done in front of numerous reporters who were tipped off ahead of time) because he was busy having to work on putting together such a big show saying he didn't have time to talk with him. At this point Ogawa grabbed Sakaguchi by the suit and shoved Sakaguchi back, then punched him and Sakaguchi went down. Ogawa then began doing a judo choke using Sakaguchi's tie before New Japan officer Tetsuo Baisho pulled him off. This was actually a bigger deal than it sounds because Ogawa, as a star from a regular sport (judo) is considered more of a sportsman than a typical pro wrestler, and also because of his background is able to garner more mainstream media coverage for his behavior so this angle got huge play everywhere. On 6/8, Ogawa went to the New Japan office to again talk with Sakaguchi, but Sakaguchi refused to talk with him and pulled him off the 7/14 and 7/15 Sapporo shows where they were going to have six-man tags with the UFO vs. New Japan. Ogawa then went to Antonio Inoki's office and apparently because of his behavior toward Sakaguchi, Inoki fired Ogawa from UFO as well

Overall the Budokan show which ended the last tour was said to have been excellent with every match being good and several being great, although the junior heavyweight ten-man elimination stole the show. The main event result was a big surprise as Tatsumi Fujinami retained the IWGP heavyweight title beating Shinya Hashimoto with a choke sleeper in 20:38. Masahiro Chono & Hiroyoshi Tenzan won the tournament to become new IWGP tag team champions beating Genichiro Tenryu & Shiro Koshinaka in the finals. This was a major push for Tenzan, as they did the deal where Chono was injured early and Tenzan had to wrestle most of the match by himself, but wound up pinning Koshinaka after a head-butt off the top rope. The other top match saw Don Frye beat Yoshiaki Fujiwara in 5:19 when the referee stopped the match as Frye continually punched Fujiwara from the mount in a UFC style finish. The show failing to sellout wasn't a good sign even though it came close, as the overall wrestling business in Japan (and for that matter, virtually every sport in Japan except for soccer due to Japan qualifying for the World Cup and baseball because the success of Hideo Nomo in a major leagues have made Japanese believe their brand of baseball is as good as any in the world, and this is largely blamed on the economy taking a turn for the worst) is down. One of the newspapers ran a major poll this past week and pro wrestling was listed as the seventh most popular sport in Japan, trailing Baseball, Sumo (which has declined greatly over the past year to the point that this week's Business Week in the U.S. has an article on the decline in sumo's popularity for all the same reasons that certain pro wrestling promotions start losing their steam), Soccer, Golf, Boxing and Auto Racing. It was also seventh most popular last year trailing the same six, but last year it was named the favorite sport by 7.6% of sports fans while it was down to 6.3% this year but that still places it ahead of the NFL, the NBA and K-1. No pro wrestlers nor any American sports stars made the list of the ten most popular athletes in Japan

Besides the finals of the jr. tournament, also on 6/3 in Osaka saw the IWGP tag team title tournament. In the first round, Satoshi Kojima & Manabu Nakanishi beat Michiyoshi Ohara & Tatsutoshi Goto and Kazuo Yamazaki & Kensuke Sasaki beat Michael Wallstreet & Big Titan. The semifinals saw Koshinaka & Tenryu beat Kojima & Nakanishi when Tenryu pinned Nakanishi in 14:23 and Chono & Tenzan beat Sasaki & Yamazaki in 11:33 when Chono pinned Sasaki. The reports are that since the show sold out the 8,000-seat Chuo Gymnasium, that after this year, New Japan is going to move its Osaka shows from the Furitsu Gym (6,500 capacity)

Kengo Kimura will be out of action as he's running for a seat in the Japanese Diet (Senate) and is out campaigning. Kimura's wife is already in the senate

The next tour runs 6/24 to 7/15 with the biggest shows on 6/24 in Yamagata, 6/25 at Korakuen Hall, 6/28 in Nagano at the Winter Olympic Hall, 7/2 in Morioka and 7/14 and 7/15 in Sapporo. The first night in Sapporo will feature the return of Keiji Muto as he teams with NWO Sting against Kojima & Nakanishi, plus Fujinami vs. Tenzan for IWGP heavyweight title, Chono & Michael Wallstreet & Adams vs. Junji Hirata & Osamu Nishimura & Sasaki, Yamazaki & Kazuyuki Fujita vs. Don Frye & Brian Johnston and Shinjiro Otani vs. Wild Pegasus (Benoit). 7/15 in the same building has Chono & Tenzan defending the tag titles against Tenryu & Koshinaka, Liger defends the jr. belt against Kanemoto, Muto & Wallstreet vs. Hashimoto & Kojima, Sasaki & Yamazaki vs. Frye & Johnston, Wagner vs. Pegasus and NWO Sting & Hiro Saito & Adams vs. Goto & Ohara & Akitoshi Saito.

OTHER JAPAN NOTES: LLPW appears to be on its last legs and in what many are thinking is a final desperation move, they held a press conference on 6/9 announcing a 10/10 show at Sumo Hall with Shinobu Kandori vs. Svetlana Gundarenko as the main event with ringside tickets going for 50,000 yen (about $400). Gundarenko is a 6-3, 320-pound Russian Olympic judo medalist from 1988 who beat both Yumiko Hotta and then Kandori in the first L-1 tournament (basically a UFC in an octagon for women) a few years back squashing them pretty easily due to the size difference. One would think at that type of a price structure it would be a shoot, but even so, how many people are going to buy tickets to an LLPW show with that kind of price structure

All Japan women announced its 30th anniversary show on 8/23 at Kawasaki City Gym with Kandori coming in to defend the WWWA title against Manami Toyota on top

In return, Yumiko Hotta of AJW works on 6/13 for LLPW against Mizuki Endo which is a rematch of their shoot match a few years ago in the same L-1 tourney

Nobutaka Araya of WAR suffered a broken neck basically landing on his head doing a moonsault too low and not turning on 6/1 at Korakuen Hall doing his finisher on Tadao Yasuda in an interpromotional match that only drew about 500 fans. WAR has basically folded as a regular company, in that the wrestlers were all dropped from their weekly salaries because the company was out of money, but they were still doing a few sold shows with Araya as the top star. Apparently there have been people worried about Araya doing that move because he gets too little height and has been in danger in the past of landing on his head. He's supposed to undergo neck surgery and will be out of action for several months. WAR had a show on 6/6 in Gotenba and brought in Keisuke Yamada & Akinori Tsukioka of the IWA to headline with both Araya and Yuji Yasuraoka (shoulder injury), the other top star, out of action. WAR brought Nobukazu Hirai out of a short retirement as he did a run-in on this show, and also brought back Koki Kitahara, so it appears those two will work as the headliners on future shows

FMW's next big show is 6/28 in Minami Osawa with a six-man street fight title defense with Hiromichi Fuyuki & Koji Nakagawa & Yukihiro Kanemura defending against Hayabusa and two mystery partners. Fuyuki Gun has a big show on 7/4 in Nagoya with Fuyuki & Kanemura defending the World Brass Knux tag titles against Hayabusa & ? plus a singles match with Nakagawa vs. ?. Since it's a Fuyuki Gun show and not an FMW show, Atsushi Onita can and will work it and the storyline right now is that Onita has to decide whether he wants the grudge match against Nakagawa, or the tag title shot to get his hands on rival Fuyuki

The FULL promotion returns to Japan for a 6/11 to 6/18 tour with Dos Caras, G. Dos Caras (don't know if it's a son or what?), El Sicodelico Jr. (who would be a nephew of Dos Caras), Villano III, Pierroth Jr., Negro Casas, Super Crazy, Guerrero de la Muerte, Kid Guzman, Venum Black and six members of the Alvarado (Brazos) family who will actually feud with each other as Old Brazos vs. New Brazos feud on the tour. In title matches, on 6/15 in Hakata, Guzman defends the UWA welterweight title against Crazy, and 6/18 at Korakuen Hall has a match to determine the new WWA junior light heavyweight title (it was formerly part of the J Crown) with Sicodelico Jr. vs. Villano III

Michiko Nagashima of LLPW will be retiring on 6/21 in a match against Yasha Kurenai. Nagashima, 28, has been wrestling for six years

Rings ran a show in Brisbane, Australia on 6/7 but the only details we have is that Christopher Hazemann beat Kenichi Yamamoto in the main event

Pancrase announced its Neo Blood tournament on 7/7 at Korakuen Hall with Kousei Kubota, Ikohisa Minowa, Daisuke Ishii, Justin McCulley, Tony Rojo, Martin Ebmann, Ryan Stout and Evan Tanner. Tanner is the USWF heavyweight champion and is 2-0 with a tournament win in Extreme Fighting.

HERE AND THERE: Steve Nelson contacted Silviera Guerra about using the USWF initials as his group to promote the show on 6/12 in Pasadena, TX (that's the show with the Becky Levi vs. El Soberano woman vs. man shoot match). Guerra is calling his promotion Universal Shoot Wrestling Federation to differentiate it from Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation. Nelson asked Guerra to change the initials to avoid confusion and apparently Guerra has agreed to not use the initials after the show this week since all the advertising and promotion is already out. The reason Nelson changed his group's name from Universal (the original name) to Unified is because World Championship Wrestling and Ted Turner own the federal trademark on the term Universal Wrestling Federation within the United States (stemming from buying the rights to that name in the Jim Crockett purchase since Crockett bought the rights to that name from Bill Watts)

Music City Wrestling ran its NWA 50th year anniversary show on 6/6 in Nashville with Jerry Jarrett, Jackie Fargo, Harley Race and Ole Anderson as the special guests drawing about 550 fans. All the legends got a good ovation although obviously Fargo, who was a local star, got the biggest. Jarrett inducted Fargo into the Nashville Wrestling Hall of Fame and Colorado Kid inducted Corsica Joe into it. Also at the show included Sarah Lee, Cora Combs and Christine Jarrett. In the final match, Colorado Kid beat Wolfie D when Wolfie KO'd the ref, Fargo, who was Kid's second, did a run-in and punched Wolfie as Wolfie tried to hit Kid with the title belt, to lead to the pin which Fargo counted. Fargo and Colorado ended the show doing the Fargo strut. Apparently Fargo's punch looked infinitely better than Crusher's last week

On the Memphis Power Pro debut in Memphis on 6/23, besides Jerry Lawler vs. Kane, also announced on the show are Jesse Jammes, Rock & Roll Express, Midnight Express with Jim Cornette, Jeff Jarrett (who will probably wrestle Billy Travis) and Jimmy Valiant. The Godwinns will be coming in next week instead of the Head Bangers. Tony Falk told Derek King, who is doing the gimmick that he's in love with Jackie, that he saw Jackie on Raw with Marc Mero. Later in the show when Falk attacked King, Jackie made the save and King said that proved that Jackie really loved him. On TV they announced Randy Hales had suspended Stacy for slapping him last week at the end of the show. Lawler called Hales a coward for suspending Stacy and said Hales was just trying to be Vince McMahon but he's no Vince McMahon. Lawler then said that what he does on Monday nights is just joke around to collect a paycheck but what he does in Memphis is serious and that he's going to beat Kane, and he wound up slapping Hales, saying it was a message from Stacy

An indie on 6/19 in Columbus, MS is headlined by Hector Guerrero vs. Recon

R.F. Video of P.O. Box 797, Langhorne, PA 19047 has just released new four-hour shoot videos with career highlights of both Al Snow and Abdullah the Butcher. You can send for a catalogue with tapes from around the world

Green Mountain Wrestling on 6/20 in Newport, VT at the National Guard Armory has an elimination tourney for the GMW title

New Dimension Wrestling on 7/11 in Bluefield, WV at the National Guard Armory has Jimmy Valiant vs. Pez Whatley, One Man Gang vs. Rick Link, Buddy Landel vs. Bobby Fulton and more. They also run 8/14 in Charleston, WV at Powell Park with Tully Blanchard, King Kong Bundy, Rock & Roll Express, Fulton Brothers, Landel, Valiant, Demolition Ax and Whatley

The NWA added a 24th member promotion, with Kristian Miller and George Zorbas joining from Australia

P.M. Video of P.O. Box 6890, Seffner, FL 33584 which specializes in old-time videos will give a free one hour television show from anything in its catalog to anyone who makes an order and mentions they read about it in the Observer

NWA New England on 6/20 in Wallingford, CT at the Toyota dealership will have Public Enemy, Jim Cornette, Lou Albano and more

Intercontinental Pro Wrestling on 7/11 in Russellville, AR at the Tucker Coliseum is headlined by King Mabel

There will be a wrestling expo at the Holiday Inn in Bensalem, PA from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on 6/28 with George Steele, Lou Albano, Stevie Richards and the Pit Bulls and there is no charge for autographs

Richards is working three dates this weekend in the South including forming a tag team with The Bullet

The 5/30 Texarakana, AR show which included King Kong Bundy, Action Jackson, Jake Roberts, One Man Gang, Johnny Mantell, Black Bart, and was scheduled to be headlined by Sid Vicious drew 2,200 fans which is among the bigger indie crowds of the year. Do we have to even mention that Vicious no-showed the event?

MMA: The Draka promotion has folded as lots of checks bounced from the recent show. It's bad enough getting screwed in pro wrestling, but imagine fighting a shoot and then after all the pounding not getting paid

K-1's 6/6 show in Zurich, Switzerland was a huge success drawing a sellout 12,000 and it was said the crowd reactions were phenomenal, particularly for national hero Andy Hug. Hug beat Peter Aerts via unanimous decision in the main event. They also held a European Grand Prix eight-man one-night tournament which came down to Stefan Leko beating Rob Van Esdank in the finals. This puts Leko into the World Grand Prix tournament later this year in Japan. Van Esdank, who is a standing fighter, in February lost a RINGS rules shoot match to Tsuyoshi Kohsaka. Next K-1 is 7/18 at the Nagoya Dome with the gimmick that it'll be a best-of-seven main event with kickboxing vs. karate, coming down to Aerts (kickboxing) vs. Francisco Filho. After that comes the 8/7 show in Las Vegas at the Mirage and on PPV which will feature most of the top American heavyweights, Maurice Smith, Jean Claude Leuyer, Curtis Schuster and Rick Roufas

The Vale Tudo event scheduled for 6/7 in Sao Paolo has been moved to 8/16 supposedly due to the World Cup

There are negotiations going on for a Dan Severn (20-3-2) vs. Pat Miletich (20-1-1) fight on 8/22 at an outdoor stadium in Davenport, IA. What is interesting about this match is that Miletich won his UFC tournament competing at the under-170 weight class although he'd be 190 for this fight, and judging from his recent WWF outings, Severn is looking to be around 250. Miletich is far more skilled overall, but he'd be giving away an awful lot of weight to a guy who is a better wrestler. There has also been talk of later this year some sort of a match with Severn against Don "The Dragon" Wilson, but under what would be modified Shidokan rules whatever that means. Severn would destroy Wilson under UFC rules, but Wilson, although 45, was a world champion kickboxer in his day and if the rules are made to where the fight has to stay on their feet, even giving up size, since Severn isn't much of a striker, he'd have the edge.

ECW: It looks 99% certain that the 8/2 PPV show will be moved from Indianapolis to Dayton, OH at Hara Arena. There is a major auto race in Indianapolis that weekend and it's impossible to get hotel rooms, rental cars and flights into the city. The only matches on the show definite at press time are Taz vs. Bam Bam Bigelow and some sort of a blow-off stipulation match with Jerry Lynn vs. Justin Credible

There has been some talk, mainly Internet stuff regarding NWA President Howard Brody issuing a challenge to ECW to send any wrestler of its choosing, and basically strongly hinting at them to send Shane Douglas, to prove who the real champion is for a match with Dan Severn. Of course, if the idea was a grandstand challenge for a shoot it's silly because ECW has absolutely nothing to gain and unless they want to run-in ten guys and cause a real riot, no chance to win and nobody is going to do a shoot in this pro wrestling world anyway. However, the real story behind this is that Brody is trying to use the Internet to create a buzz to build to this big shoot match, but of course make a business deal with ECW beforehand and try and use ECW to help draw a house for the NWA 50th anniversary show in October in Cherry Hill with this title vs. title deal. The problem is fans are smart enough in that if they are promised a shoot, because everyone has seen what a shoot is, they'll immediately see through a work and it'll be flat. Of course if Heyman wants to make it work, he'll figure out a way to use it to his advantage and make it work because he probably understands this aspect of the game as well as anyone in the business

The 6/6 ECW Arena drew the first non-sellout at the building in months with an estimated 1,100. Some of it was blamed on a mass transit strike in town. Due to a problem with getting his visa finalized, Lance Storm missed the weekend and the main event and scheduled tag team title change was postponed. Instead, Candido teamed with Shane Douglas against Sabu and Rob Van Dam, apparently with Douglas doing a promo saying that he wanted to see for himself how good Van Dam is. Douglas worked a few minutes and did a few things before being taken out of the match when Van Dam did a legdrop to his bad arm. Taz then attacked Douglas while he was injured, which brought out Bigelow and they did another pull-apart. It ended up with Candido against both and they both put him through a table and pinned him. The final match on the show was Dudleys & Jack Victory beating Sandman & Tommy Dreamer & Spike Dudley & New Jack in a bloodbath when Victory pinned New Jack after hitting him with a guitar which sent a chair to his head. Victory doesn't look impressive in the least. The match was a bloodbath and was said to be good for what it's expected to be, while Lynn vs. Credible was said to have been the only other decent match on the show and reports were it was the worst ECW Arena show in a while. Spike Dudley does a great job in making these matches as he works well with Buh Buh and D-Von and Sandman at least is in very little and when he's in he's so over he can really get the crowd going until he needs to get out of there, and doesn't overstay his welcome. Lynn beat Credible in an I Quit match, followed by John Kronus beating Jamie Dundee, Chris Chetti over Danny Doring (who is showing some potential), FBI beat Blue Meanie & Super Nova and FBI then attacked trouble-shooter ref Tommy Rogers and Balls Mahoney beat Mike Lozansky. Al Snow then did a promo asking Axl Rotten to come with him to the WWF where he wouldn't have to bleed and wrestle such a hard style but Rotten said that he lived and breathed ECW, and then beat Snow and Snow did another stretcher job, yelling and flipping the fans off on the way out

The show the night before in Harrisburg, PA drew a sellout of about 1,100 and said to have been a solid "B" show

At the Arena show, Buh Buh Ray Dudley did a promo that seemingly went on forever. The night before he started a promo and at first a fan threw a soda at him, which wound up with 25-50 sodas thrown and then 15-20 chairs thrown

Douglas is getting his elbow surgery this week and will be kept out of the ring until the November to Remember PPV

Beulah is expected to be kept out of action until the 8/2 PPV

Candido seemed to be okay and had a strong match with Snow on 6/5

Credible was still limping and groggy from working with all his concussions

Victory has moved back to New Jersey from Georgia which probably explains him as a regular

Dundee got his mouth bloodied up by a Van Dam kick. Dundee is managing Lozansky, and apparently with all the guys Van Dam has hurt over the past few weeks, Lozansky was so overly protecting himself that it really detracted from the match.

WCW: WCW is having settlement talks later this week with Ric Flair, trying to get him to return for the 7/6 Georgia Dome show and to reform the Four Horseman with himself, Chris Benoit, Bill Goldberg and one other person with Arn Anderson acting in the old J.J. Dillon role. Gene Okerlund actually went on a radio show and said that his sources tell him Flair's return is imminent and that Flair's attorneys then called Okerlund up and told him he needed to go back on that show and make a retraction

Eric Bischoff had a meeting with the wrestlers before Nitro on 6/8. His main topic was promising the guys that he was going to make the travel schedule easier and that they wouldn't book more than 18 dates in any given month and that there would be at least one six-day break every month where there would be no shows. There have been a lot of schedule changes starting in July because of this although in our last schedule rundown we had the new July schedule with the week off. The biggest change is that starting in August, Thunder will be taped every other week with a four hour taping so that hours three and four would air on top the following Thursday. The first four-hour taping will be 8/13 in Fargo, ND, so the planned 8/20 Thunder taping in Providence has been changed to a regular house show on 8/16. The next four-hour Thunder taping will be 8/26 in Peoria so 9/3 in Memphis will no longer be a taping and 9/10 in Lexington, KY and 9/24 in Miami Arena will be the next tapings. This will force WCW to be more organized because these last minute turns and angles on Monday will throw things off is things have already been taped for the following Thursday. It also pretty well will establish Thunder as a distant secondary show. Bischoff also announced that Dusty Rhodes would have a much bigger role in the booking committee and he also expressed dissatisfaction with wrestlers arriving late to the house shows and TV tapings and said they would start instituting fines for wrestlers arriving late. He said that he knows the wrestlers want to get their workout in and their tanning time in, but if it comes to the workout or the tan or getting to the show on time, they should skip the workout or the tan. He also said that with all the injuries that the company is easing up on the schedule because they can't afford more injuries, but also asked the guys if they would work through injuries which as you can imagine nobody was thrilled with hearing

Okerlund missed the 6/1 Nitro because he was having some sort of tests done in the hospital, while on 6/8 he was at the Nitro promotional party for the Licensing Fair at Roseland in New York

The complete scheduled line-up for the PPV show is Hulk Hogan & Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper & Randy Savage, a Piper vs. Savage singles match (which may not happen as they are considering doing an angle in the tag to eliminate the single because who needs to see Piper work twice on the same night?), Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Eddie Guerrero, Dave Finlay defending the TV title against the winner of the best-of-seven which last we'd heard was going to be Chris Benoit, but who knows, Perry Saturn vs. Kanyon, Goldberg vs. Konnan for the U.S. title, Sting vs. Giant and Ron Reis vs. Juventud Guerrera. Despite all sorts of reports to the contrary, there is no loser leaves town match between Chris Jericho and Dean Malenko scheduled and at press time if there was a match scheduled between the two, it was news to them although looking at the card there is room for two matches to be added. Actually most of the rumors started because Okerlund said it on his hotline and of course it spread everywhere

The announcement of the Hogan vs. Goldberg match for the 7/6 Georgia Dome show was scheduled for either 6/11 or 6/12. If the news is released nationally on television, then the match has to air on television. The advance was right at 20,000 tickets at press time and I believe a sellout is scaled at a little more than $800,000

As if there haven't been enough turns, aside from Curt Hennig and Rick Rude going back to the Hogan camp which looks to be almost a sure thing, there is also a lot of talk about Savage going to Hogan's side and Scott Hall, when he comes back, returning to Nash's side. Apparently Nash also doesn't want Page in the Wolfpac so we'll see how that goes. It's good to see how much long-term thinking goes into these weekly turns, particularly the Hall turn which has been so totally forgotten that it might as well have never happened. Hall is scheduled to be back from rehab in about two more weeks

There was a lot of talk already about Rodman meaning nothing for the ratings on 6/8. Realistically, since the show drew so much mainstream pub on Tuesday (all the big outlets covered it as one of the lead sports stories), it will be interesting to see if there is any effect on the 6/11 and 6/15 ratings. Rodman's appearances last year leading up to his PPV show didn't draw any better ratings than the shows had been drawing either. Both Rodman and Karl Malone are scheduled at the Georgia Dome to shoot the final angle for their match, if Malone does agree to do the match

Nitro drew a sellout 16,233 paying $290,491 to the Palace in Auburn Hills, MI. They did had tickets available as of the day of the show so it wasn't one of those deals like in the past where it sold out weeks ahead, and they also added an advertised Sting vs. Giant dark match because it didn't look like the name Nitro alone was going to draw a sellout. It was mainly a talk show, with only seven matches in three hours. They opened with Hogan, Rodman (who Hogan called Rodzilla, I guess in Hogan's efforts to keep up with the pulse of the nation nobody told him that movie was kind of a flop) and Bischoff doing an interview. They tried to do a tease throughout the show of Page joining the Wolfpac. Wolfpac did an interview and got a huge reaction as Detroit is the kind of city they should be over the biggest in. Hogan, Rodman and company were in the bleachers messing with the sound controls turning off their mic and turning off the lights and shooting off the pyro making fun of them. Before this happened Nash said Page had to make a choice and hinted that Savage was the only one who didn't want him in. Yuji Nagata beat Jerry Flynn in 4:11 with the Nagata lock. Chris Jericho did an interview reading a letter that was supposed to have been from Ted Turner, basically with the storyline that the NWA didn't exist anymore so the NWA rule book he was reading from (from an angle on Thursday which was a total riot) didn't matter. Jericho then did a crybaby routine about not getting his belt back. In probably one of the most retarded ideas of the year, Horace Boulder & Reis beat Guerrera & Van Hammer. Juvi was real good and the other three, well, let's just say Boulder was actually the worst guy in the match. His punches were missing by a mile. Hammer actually missed a cobra clutch slam and you'd think that isn't even possible. Anyway, they spent the match building up that Reis and Juvi would wrestle on the PPV and teased their lock-up, and the minute they locked up, Reis used the neck hanging tree slam and got the pin after 8:03 that seemed like 40:00. I'll bet that got everyone in the country really wanting to pay $29.95 to see them do a singles match. Hogan's crew with Rodman were then hanging out backstage drinking wine with some women joking about Rodman having missed practice for this. Eddie Guerrero went to a no contest with Scott Putski in 4:35 when Chavo ran in and attacked Putski while Eddie ran away. Konnan & Nash did a rebuttal on Hogan which was good. Eric & Giant talked, mainly regarding Sting. Rude & Hennig did an interview with Konnan regarding Goldberg. The crowd was going insane for Goldberg, partially because out of camera view, WCW personnel was riling the crowd up to chant the name. With Okerlund gone, Tony Schiavone was doing the interviews. He was looking like the Michelin Tire Dummy. Booker T beat Benoit to even it at 3-3 with a sunset flip in 11:15. Really good, maybe the second best of their six bouts so far and this angle is starting to pick up momentum. Outdated reference of the week. They were talking about Page's choice and mentioned that Page is such a student and videotapes all his matches and Bobby Heenan said that Page has more videotape equipment than Bob Crane. Whew. Crane (star of a 60s TV show "Hogan's Heroes") was known in Hollywood for videotaping wild sex parties, but he must have died 15 or 20 years ago. Hogan did another interview where they showed that Liz had joined Hogan's side with no explanation as to why. Finlay beat Norman Smiley in 5:43 with the tombstone piledriver. The crowd was chanting for the Red Wings (actually they were even during the Benoit match but Benoit and T were so good they got the crowd into the match) and then did the wave. For the few actually paying attention, Finlay did a great job in this match. Schiavone interviewed Sting. It looked as if he'd gained 10 pounds since the previous interview. Sting talked about The Giant. It was a decent interview but Sting is a lot better off when he doesn't talk. I guess he's no big deal either way now. Schiavone then interviewed Piper, who came out with a lot of energy, but teased how Rodman was having problems with Malone (one day after the Bulls won by 44 points) and after a few minutes Piper was really dying out there. Savage came out to save the day and he was dying until Hogan and company were in the rafters making fun of both guys for being gay or unable to perform with viagra lines. Eric then french kissed Liz. It was so sick I had to wash my own mouth out to get rid of the taste. Savage then said that he didn't care which was brilliant, killing all the heat of the angle in one fell swoop. If he doesn't care, why should anyone else care, and if he doesn't care, what was Liz doing around for the last year in the first place? And didn't they just spray paint her? And why did she turn? And didn't she already turn on him before? Is watching wrestling supposed to make you want to take drugs to numb the brain (and now your mouth as well) or is it just the people who put it together are numbing their brains and mouths and this is the end result? Dean Malenko beat Disco Inferno in 2:22 with the cloverleaf. Hogan then did another interview (this was his seventh one on the show for those who weren't keeping track) showing clips of Scott Steiner in Hollywood as a new movie star. The world must be going mad. If you took every major league wrestler in the business and put them in order from 1 to 250 or whatever as far as their acting potential, Scott Steiner would have to be around 247. Anyway, after a lame segment of Steiner in Vancouver as Hogan's acting protege, Hogan brought Steiner in with the women and Scott had nothing of relevance to say. Goldberg destroyed Chavo in 1:21 with the jackhammer. Crowd went absolutely nuts even more than ever before for Goldberg or probably any pro wrestler ever in existence aside from Antonio Inoki at anytime in history. Finally it came time for Page to make the choice. He was giving this speech about how wonderful a human being Nash is when Hogan (like we hadn't seen him enough already) & Rodman started beating his brains in with chairs. It took forever for the Wolfpac to make the save because there were all kinds of security and wrestlers blocking their way

We've been told that Hogan did sign his contract this past week

Latest on Jim Hellwig is that the current plan is for him to debut in August or September, obviously that still being determined by the ratings on Mondays. All kinds of rumors flying around about how much he's going to make but the most reliable sources have it as 36 to 38 dates for about $1 million. That should do wonders for morale as the betting line is after the third week, he'll be useless. I'm trying to envision him out there for seven minutes doing those nonsensical promos before a live crowd. He's got presence so they want shit on him right away, but Piper is out there dying when he's out by himself for any length of time and he's still 50 times the promo-man Hellwig is. They are producing new music for him and his ring entrance is going to be a laser lights show type deal even more elaborate than Glacier's

Thunder on 6/4 in Peoria, IL drew a sellout 8,825 (8,559 paying an all-time city record of $185,305). It was a little better than the it had been in previous weeks. The show drew a 3.49 rating and a 6.13 share on the live show and a 1.3 rating and 4.7 share on the replay. Booker T pinned Benoit in 6:23 of another really good match. Giant announced he was giving the other half of the tag title to Brian Adams and challenged Luger and a partner to get them later in the show. Has anyone figured out yet that Adams can't wrestle, his promos are outdated and he has no charisma at all? Oh, I'm sorry, he did once wrestle in WWF (and don't let anyone in WCW know that nobody cared about him there either) so he must be better than everyone else on this roster. Reis pinned Hammer with the neck hanging tree slam in 3:06. Boulder hit Hammer with a stop sign to set up the finish and Juvi made the save. Alex Wright beat Eddie Guerrero on a DQ in 1:10 when Chavo went to attack Wright although he wound up backdropped over the top rope. Chavo no-showed the shrink appointment that Eddie had gotten him with Dave Penzer's relative. Eddie is scared to death of Chavo nowadays. Actually Chavo is getting over and all, but why would Eddie be afraid of him as all he does is go in the ring and get squashed? He tapped out to Wright with a move Wright never beat anyone in his life with, he got thrown around by Goldberg like he was a dishrag, and he can't even do an effective run-in. Finlay beat Psicosis in 4:03 with the tombstone to keep the TV title. Glacier beat Saturn in 4:20 when after ref Mark "The Shooter" Curtis got bumped, Kanyon ran in and used the reverse Russian leg sweep on Saturn. Curt Hennig and Rick Rude (by the way, if enough people haven't turned in the last six weeks, and if Savage and Hall in the next few weeks aren't enough as well, just add these two to the list) came out for an interview. Hennig's knee won't be ready for the PPV so he asked Konnan to take his place against Goldberg. Konnan was hilarious acting like he didn't believe his knee was really hurt. By the way, even though Goldberg's win on Nitro was No. 99 and he's scheduled to work house shows this week against Konnan in Erie and Pittsburgh (he's not going to wrestle on Thunder in Buffalo), they are going to pretend Erie and Pittsburgh never took place so that No. 100 will be the Konnan match on the PPV. In this day and age with information available the way it is, they really should have planned this a whole lot better and made No. 100 more meaningful. There was a lot of talk of having Hennig attack Konnan for the turn which would result in Goldberg losing via DQ so he wouldn't get No. 100 after all, but that idea is retarded. Malenko wrestled Silver King (who is actually injured and out of action but wrestled anyway) for 2:23 until Jericho showed up and rang the bell and I guess if the bell rings, the match is over. Jericho came out claiming a 1934 NWA rule book that he found either in the Library of Congress or in Mike Tenay's basement (of course the NWA wasn't even formed until 1948) claiming the Strangler Lewis rule gives the champion a right of first refusal on title matches and that he should get his belt back. He kept demanding Malenko to give him the belt and Malenko finally hit him in the head with the belt after he started insulting Dean's father. Raven beat Disco with the DDT in 2:56. Goldberg beat Hugh Morrus & Barbarian in a handicap match. Goldberg threw Jimmy Hart into both men and then tackled all three before jackhammering both guys and pinning Barb in 1:16. Finally Luger & Page beat Giant & Adams to win the tag titles when Page used the diamond cutter on Adams in 6:31. Then J.J. phoned in from Atlanta, saying he was trying to call throughout the show but the phone lines were dead because of bad weather. Whoever scripts this stuff must really have a grudge from years back on J.J. Anyway, Giant had no authority to give Adams the belts in the first place, so therefore the match couldn't be a title match and the winner of Sting-Giant at the PPV will get both belts and then be able to pick a new partner. Actually, for once there's an storyline that makes complete and total logical sense, at least after the bad weather and the impossibility for two hours to make a phone call to Peoria

House shows this weekend saw 6/5 in Muncie, IN drew 3,258 paying $71,416, 6/6 in Fort Wayne, IN drew 3,998 paying $100,454 and 6/7 in Grand Rapids, MI drew 8,626 paying $172,258. Merchandise for the week was $471,131 or an amazing $11.58 per head, largely due to sales of the red & black shirts and the Goldberg shirts. The red & black shirts sold out in one hour in Auburn Hills so if they had more, they very well could have come close to all-time company one-night merchandise records because as it is they did $202,793

The WCW Saturday Night tapings on 6/8 in Saginaw, MI drew 3,015 paying $68,440 but we don't have any notes on what happened at the show. In the top matches at the house shows this week they had Nash pin Page clean after a high kick (not let's see, Nash has a concussion which is legit so he can't wrestle on the PPV on 6/14 but he can wrestle on house shows?) and Sting pin Giant clean with a scorpion death drop

The Nitro Girls were all making $50,000 (with the exception of Kimberly, who as the leader was earning more) and as a group are asking for a raise to $65,000. Apparently there is some heat with the rest of the women and Kimberly regarding how the contract negotiations are going

The 6/13 Pittsburgh show with Goldberg vs. Konnan on top and very little else was stiffing at the box office, so they added Sting vs. Giant and made it the main event. It was originally to be Goldberg vs. Hennig, which is simply not strong enough to be a major market main event. Even with adding Sting and Giant, they still only had about 2,000 tickets sold at press time although part of that was due to a newspaper mix-up and putting the latest ad for the card without Sting and Giant

Giant is considering having surgery on both knees as both are now bad

WCW prepared video footage on JYD, not for their own purposes, but to air as a news story on CNN Impact which ran on 6/8

Expect Vampiro, Dr. Wagner Jr., Emilio Charles Jr., Atlantis and Black Warrior to be at the next set of Disney tapings

Rey Misterio Jr. was at Nitro and supposed to do an angle. They even plugged his return on Monday on the WCW Saturday Night show but with Hogan needing eight segments for himself, there was no time. Actually, if you can believe this, there was heat because someone or ones in the office who read this publication saw the name Rey Misterio in the Tijuana notes and didn't realize it was his uncle and wanted him back in the ring if he was working elsewhere. Actually he is just about ready to return

Rick Steiner suffered a shoulder infection after the surgery which has slowed down his rehabilitation

Scott Steiner, since he injured his back again, can't train and shockingly dropped 25 pounds in just a few weeks to about 250

One mid-card performer actually failed a drug test for dianabol (a steroid that they haven't even made in about ten years) which has a lot of eyebrows raised, as how only one mid-card guy could fail a steroid test when there are neon signs all over the place. That wrestler was told by Bischoff he needs to go to a one-day counseling session which is what those failing a drug test are by policy supposed to do on a first offense

J.J. Dillon will be given a new title which I believe is Director of Wrestling Operations

There is still nothing settled in the Calgary case of Stu and Helen Hart possibly losing their famous house. The entire situation is held up because the City Council was deadlocked 3-3 in making a decision which theoretically was going to result in the Harts having to sell their home because the city was going to take over land that they owned and pay them far less than they could have gotten on the free market for that land. The Harts spent $20,000 for a second application to have some of their land re-zoned and are now asking for the money back which lawyers for the city have recommended returning as well

TNT and TBS took out a full page ad in the 6/8 Advertising Age special section on cable devoted entirely to WCW. In the WCW storyline of wrestling history, Ted Turner bought a fledgling wrestling company in 1989 that was running shows in high school gyms and a few small arenas and drawing tiny television audiences (somebody look back over those rating in 1986-88 and all the 4.0s on Saturday and Sunday afternoon). Turner then gave it a complete overhaul by signing people like Savage, Luger, Sting, Bret Hart and Hogan and big ratings soon followed. The story claims WCW will run 300 house shows this year (well, at one time that was the plan) and that most shows sellout the first day tickets are put on sale (that would be nice). Hey, maybe TNT can produce its own A&E wrestling special on A&E

The 6/4 Peoria Journal Star had its lead story in the entertainment section on WCW Thunder with a large color photo of Goldberg

WCW Saturday Night on 6/6 drew a poor 1.6 rating.

WWF: The 6/5 show in Madison Square Garden headlined by Steve Austin & Undertaker vs. Kane & Mankind drew a sellout of 19,506, which was 16,814 paying $391,575. It was the largest gate ever in the United States for a WWF non-PPV event. The only gate larger in U.S. dollars (there was a Toronto stadium show that did more Canadian dollars, but translated into American dollars the figure would have been lower) would have been the August 28, 1986 Hogan vs. Paul Orndorff Toronto Exhibition Stadium show that did 69,300 fans and about $800,000 in U.S. dollars (a little over $1 million Canadian) at the time. The show opened with Head Bangers beating Too Much (Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor) in a good action-packed opener. Faarooq went to a no contest with Mark Henry when Undertaker came out and choke slammed both of them. Obviously Faarooq is major in the doghouse as they did company weigh-ins on 6/2 and Faarooq was weighing more than they wanted him, as was Vader (a legit 371) and both are being booked in a manner to strongly encourage them to drop weight. Undertaker grabbed the p.a. and said he's interrupt the entire show until Vince McMahon came out. Scorpio pinned D-Lo Brown in a match with no heat but decent work. Pat Patterson and McMahon came out. Undertaker came out and chased Patterson away and was about to choke slam McMahon when Mankind attacked him from behind. Undertaker made his own comeback running both off. Dustin Runnels & Terry Funk beat Jose Estrada Jr. & Savio Vega when Rhodes pinned Jose. Not much crowd reaction. Ken Shamrock used the ankle lock to beat Owen Hart in a submission match. Said to have been good. New Age Outlaws beat LOD 2000 when Road Dog pinned Hawk after X-Pac hit him with the tag title belt. The fans were into the Outlaws as the babyfaces. Bradshaw pinned Kama Mustafa in a bad match with no heat. Jeff Jarrett beat Steve Blackman when Tennessee Lee tripped Blackman. Not much. Hunter Hearst Helmsley kept the European title beating Vader when X-Pac distracted the ref and Chyna gave Vader a low blow, leading to the Pedigree. See Faarooq. Main event was a very good wild match ending when Austin used the stunner on Mankind

While this hasn't been announced and is far from official, things I've been told lead me to believe the main event at SummerSlam will be Austin vs. Undertaker and not Austin vs. McMahon

The WWF record continues to sell 6,000 to 6,500 copies per week and staying between the No. 170 and No. 200 mark in the weekly billboard charts. In 14 weeks since it's release it has sold about 100,000 units

Jackyl (Don Callis) now has a bi-weekly wrestling column in the Winnipeg Sun

The WWF pay-per-listen for Over the Edge blew out the circuits because so many people ordered it all at the last minute, so everyone who ordered that show will now be given the King of the Ring broadcast free

The deal with Ken Shamrock is that the injury on 6/8 Raw with him limping was just him selling. His foot is about 70 to 80% so he came back early

Tickets for SummerSlam went on sale in the building at MSG on 6/5 and before the show ended they already had sold $100,000 worth

They are hoping for Steve Regal to debut on Raw on 6/29, but he at press time hadn't fully recovered from pneumonia so this may be pushed back. There is serious consideration being given to using McMahon as sort of a manager, although not using that term, for Regal and Steve Williams as if he's bringing two shooters in to beat Austin for the title to give both guys instant steam

Barry Switzer, the coach of the Cowboys who coached Williams at Oklahoma in the early 80s, will appear on Raw shortly as they are going to Dallas to tape several segments with him to start the hype for Williams' arrival

Bruce Prichard and Victor Quinones went to Mexico last week after the TV tapings to try and scout for talent and put together deals

X-Pac is scheduled to start as a wrestler on 6/13 in Continued on page 15.

THE READERS PAGES

 

TOKYO DOME

New Japan did a great job for Antonio Inoki's retirement. From 10:30 a.m. on, when a piano version of Inoki's theme was playing on the loud speakers at the outdoor merchandise tables until the final ichi, ni, san, da !, they created a big event atmosphere. As far as the claim of 70,000 fans, there was standing room two deep behind the seats on all three levels of the Dome. However, 70,000 is a stretch.

Kurt Schimmel

Parlin, New Jersey

DRAGON

WCW crews were in Manhattan for the MTV show on 5/9 and I was fortunate to have Yoshihiro Asai stay as my house guest over the weekend. Although the MTV show at Chelsea Pier was nothing to report about, I'd like to share his history and dreams.

Asai was born December 12, 1966 in Nagoya and grew up as a Puroresu maniac idolizing Antonio Inoki, Terry Funk, Mil Mascaras and the original Tiger Mask. After finishing high school, he went to Tokyo and joined the New Japan dojo in 1986 along with Chris Benoit, Brian Adams, Darryl Peterson (Max Payne) and Osamu Matsuda (El Samurai). Although Asai passed all the physical training, known as Hell Camp, he wasn't offered a professional contract simply because of his small size. So the Japanese boy went to Mexico, without knowing a word of Spanish, by himself, to pursue his dream. It didn't take much time for the Lucha Libre world to recognize his amazing talent. Asai and New Japan's Naoki Sano (now Yuhi Sano with Takada Dojo) & Hata (now retired) quickly became the trios champions in August of 1987. On July 29, 1988, he beat Ray Richard to win the UWA world welterweight championship, and at the age of 21, he was the youngest man ever to win the title. His success continued when he earned the UWA middleweight title on April 6 1990 from Cuchillo and went on to hold the title a record five times.

When Hisashi Shinma's son Tuneo (Hisatsune) decided to start the Universal promotion, Asai was invited to Korakuen Hall as the young star of the promotion in March 1990. His trademark Asai moonsault had huge eye-catching impact throughout the Japanese wrestling industry and many young boys decided to become pro wrestlers because of Asai proving that a small man can be a superstar. Although Universal was a financially mismanaged company, it paved the way for today's Michinoku Pro Wrestling as Masa Michinoku (Great Sasuke) started the company along with Monkey Magic Wakita (Super Delfin), Coolie S.Z. (Jado) and Bulldog K.T. (Gedo).

It was Antonio Inoki, who was then the booker for EMLL, who signed Asai away from UWA and gave him the gimmick as the last student of Bruce Lee, El Ultimo Dragon in October 1991. At the same time he jumped to corporate-sponsored SWS (which later evolved into WAR) in Japan and became a superstar on two continents. On November 22, 1992, Asai became the first outsider ever to be chosen to win the IWGP junior heavyweight title when he beat El Samurai and on November 8, 1994, he beat Corazon de Leon (Chris Jericho) to become the 78th NWA world middleweight champion.

It was billed that Dragon held nine world titles at the same time (The J-Crown eight belts and the WCW cruiserweight title), but it was actually ten titles because Asai also held the NWA middleweight title for the past nearly four years. New Japan didn't want to advertise the NWA middleweight title since the idea was that the J Crown represented every major junior heavyweight belt in the world and there was another NWA name belt, the junior heavyweight title, which wasn't an authentic historical title, that was already included among those eight belts. EMLL has an official rule that if a champion doesn't defend the title in six months, the belt is supposed to be stripped. Asai informed EMLL several times of his willingness to drop the title to anyone, but it never materialized and he left EMLL in January 1996. Considering the rivalry between AAA and EMLL, it is a miracle that Asai was never stripped of the title when he worked for AAA.

Asai has already contributed more to the U.S. scene than Giant Baba and Antonio Inoki combined. With the exception of Hideo Nomo of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Ultimo Dragon is the most successful Japanese athlete on a world wide basis. I can't name any other pro wrestler in the business who has accomplished so much in all three major pro wrestling markets of the world, Mexico, Japan and the United States. He is also very proud of holding the WCW TV title because he is the first man of his size to ever hold the title and the list of former champions includes the Great Muta.

His dreams are very big. As the teacher/mentor for Ultimo Dragon Gym in Naucalpan, he has already attracted many young Japanese wrestlers and you've seen some of them at WCW television tapings. Magnum Tokyo and Dragon Kid have huge potential. As an ambassador between Mexico and Japan, he's even been able to attract big name Japanese corporate sponsorship such as NGK and Panasonic.

Lastly, he would like to thank all the Observer readers who vote his match for the Best Match poll on almost every WCW PPV show. He particularly enjoyed winning the 1996 award for the best move, the running Liger bomb. However, he is currently prohibited from using that move in WCW. Of course, he is well aware the Ultimo Dragon name was all over the 1997 awards listings.

Although this was his very first visit to New York, he's already thinking seriously of moving here. While enjoying some sightseeing in the city, we fundamentally just talked puroresu and watched videotapes for two straight days before he got up at 4 a.m. to fly to Kansas City for Nitro. Yes, he is still very much a pro wrestling fan.

Tadashi Tanaka

New York, New York

A&E

I'm surprised by people who were disappointed in the A&E story. I agree there were Dusty Rhodes-sized holes in the historical accuracy. What some are losing sight of is the historical significance of the program itself. For so long, everyone in the business and fans of the business have had to endure an overall lack of respect to downright ridicule from the mainstream public. Don't think for a second because of Hulk Hogan or because of the current popularity of pro wrestling that things are any different today. The program was a big step toward mainstream acceptance although many more are needed.

Even though it is 1998, if I show enthusiasm toward pro wrestling, my friends still bring up that it's fake. My only response is, "Yes it is. I also know JFK was shot and The Challenger did explode. that's not why I watch it!" My friends have this look on their face of B-rated theatrical dumbfoundedness. The mainstream public still looks at wrestling fans as the biggest bunch of marks and that wrestling consists of the same demographic that donates money to the PTL club. The general public wouldn't dare be caught by their friends at a pro wrestling show. That's the hump the wrestling business has never truly gotten over like it never had to in Japan. In time it will. One day the mainstream public will realize that they were the ones who were the marks.

I'm sure one day there will be a version of "Ken Burns: Baseball" for pro wrestling. Why? Because it will make money. This program on A&E was one of the highest rated shows they had all year. It wasn't like wrestling reports in the past where the workers said, "It's real. You want to get in the ring and find out for yourself Mr. Reporter." Augh! Responses like that are exactly why the hump is still there. The business has mostly let goof living and dying by feeling they have to con the public into believing it's real. The only thing that con accomplishes is a feeling as a wrestling fan that they are trying to insult ones intelligence. But that's what the public feels is the purpose of pro wrestling. With the A&E story, they saw everyone tell their "real" story, albeit colorfully and largely untrue.

If this program was going to be the last of its kind, I also would be upset. Real history of wrestling is out there, both good and bad. The important thing that needed to be done was done. The admission of deception. Now, in time, the public will learn just how truly unreal this business is.

Rob Smith

Sarasota, Florida

***********************************************************

Continued from page 14. Albuquerque doing tag matches and will probably wrestle in some form at King of the Ring

Sunny showed up six hours late for the television taping in Rockford, IL on 6/2 and was heavily fined. She's definitely in the dog house. It's almost impossible for her to not look good, but she came as close to being able to not look good as it's possible for her to do at that taping. We've heard so many different stories as to why she pulled herself away from wrestling for a few weeks that you can't give credence to any of them

To kick off ticket sales for the 8/8 Foxboro Stadium show, on 7/1 in Boston they are going to have an arm-wrestling match between Austin and McMahon and shoot a television angle there. They are trying to get a few members of the New England Patriots to work that show as either referees outside the ring, managers or lumberjacks

The New York Daily News the day before the Evander Holyfield fight was canceled, noting that they had only sold 5,000 tickets (although ticket prices for boxing heavyweight title fights are through the roof) suggested that they needed to get McMahon and Austin into the picture since Austin's match at MSG the night before was expected to and did sellout

Some notes from Raw on 6/8. We had reported that Chainz and Darren Drosdov went to a no contest when Undertaker choke slammed both guys, but actually Chainz scored a pin and then Taker came in and nailed both guys. Now they are being overly cautious about Drosdov. One week they do the hard sell and the next week he jobs. The deal is that the guy clearly has potential and obviously is pretty green right now. They gave him the big push for a few weeks and he wasn't ready, and everyone remembers what happened with Rocky Maivia. What killed Maivia was giving him the IC title when all the fans knew he wasn't ready, even though as it turned out, they did quite a recovery by making him a heel. Still, Brian Lee is a guy who never had it and never will, and I don't think letting Drosdov beat him would cause any fans to resent him

HHH was just a riot in those segments where they walked the streets of New York and in the three-way interview with LOD and DOA. That three way match was really lame, however. The ending with the presentation to McMahon was pretty weak except for McMahons acting which is great. They said George Martin was a member of 1986 Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, but it was actually 1987 as the Bears won in 1986

Severn is no longer wearing his NWA title belt or his UFC title belts on WWF television and the words NWA seem to no longer be mentioned. His UFC wins aren't mentioned in specific as they seem to concentrate now more on pushing his high school and college wrestling days which were a long time ago. A trivia note. In the 1981 NCAA heavyweight tournament, in the third place match Williams pinned Severn which was the only match Severn was ever pinned in college. They do talk of him as having octagon and tournament experience. It's kind of funny when they talk about Severn and Shamrock as being tournament tested. Severn won two tournaments, including the first Ultimate Ultimate in 1985 which probably was the single toughest martial arts tournament in history. Shamrock was the better all-around fighter, but was more injury prone and in his three UFC tournaments, lost in the first one to Royce Gracie and defaulted due to injuries without losing in his next two, although Shamrock did win the 1984 King of Pancrase tournament

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post had a wrestling reference in his 5/24 column talking about the HBO "Real Sports" investigative television show. Mushnick wrote that, referring to a recent show hammering Philadelphia's WIP sports radio show as appealing to the lowest common denominator that "there is no

greater lowest common denominator sports-related business than pro wrestling, especially because its audience is comprised in large part by vulnerable and impressionable children and teens. There are no worse regularly scheduled antisocial messages delivered to America's children than those delivered via TV by pro wrestling's two dominant forces, the WCW and WWF. WWF boss Vince McMahon concedes that many of his TV shows now represent adult entertainment. But he certainly hasn't banned children from comprising a large chunk of the live audience. The WCW recently distributed a press kit heralding the phenomenal growth in TV ratings." Mushnick then noted that WCW is owned by Turner, who is the Vice Chairman of Time Warner, which owns HBO

Along the same lines, on 6/8 in Tujunga, CA, there was a major news story about how a grade school was defaced and vandalized with Nazi Swastikas, all kinds of racist messages and the vandals also spray painted "NWO 4 life" and "3:16" on the walls

The 5/30 Minneapolis Tribune ran a lengthy article building up the 6/6 house show at the Target Center. It was one of the more refreshing articles on wrestling even though real vs. fake was discussed. The basic gist was that wrestling was fake, the author figured it out when he was a kid watching Verne Gagne and Larry Hennig, and that it didn't matter. It mainly interviewed Sean Waltman and Joe Laurinaitis, who were eating lunch together and willingly posing together despite supposedly being in a feud and making no bones about what wrestling was all about. It talked about these two arch-rivals trading gossip at lunch over iced tea with both making no bones about wrestling being a lot like soap opera, but it emphasized just how dangerous and ruthless a business it was

Judging from the latest WWF schedule, it appears the two England shows scheduled for 9/19 in Newcastle and 9/20 in Sheffield, the latter at one point scheduled as an England only PPV show, are canceled as WWF has Detroit and East Lansing, MI booked on those respective days. The Sheffield Arena put tickets on sale for 9/20 a few weeks back but since then tickets have been taken off sale

Some notes on Adam Copeland, who should be debuting in the ring as Edge within the next three weeks. He is originally from Orangevale, ONT. He won a 1992 contest when he was only 17 (which makes him 23 now) by Toronto Star columnist Norm DaCosta in which the winner would get trained to be a wrestler and was trained by Ron Hutchison and Sweet Daddy Siki. He started wrestling as Adam Impact locally in 1993 and later was better known in the indie world as Sexton Hardcastle

Besides MSG, the other house shows this past week were the TV taping on 6/2 in Rockford, IL which drew a sellout 7,102 paying $150,595; 6/3 in Hammond, IN drew 3,554 paying $69,946, 6/4 in Hartford drew 7,480 paying $146,223 and 6/6 in Minneapolis at Target Center drew 7,324 paying $166,012. The results from the shows were all fairly similar to MSG. Merchandise for the week was $435,377 or $10.30 per head

Live Wire did a 1.3 rating and Superstars did a 1.6.

WRESTLING OBSERVER NEWSLETTER June 15, 1998

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