|WWF Byte This! by E.C. Ostermeyer||
Thisisi the WWF Byte This! report for Friday, 22 June 2001, and you all know who I am, don'tcha?
On today's show, we get an example of "Vox Populi" in action, Droz gives his predictions for "King of The Ring." Tazz gives his predictions for "King of The Ring." And this week's special guest, WWF Champion Steve Austin, wears his kayfabe mask to his interview, but it keeps slipping off.
Guess they'll have to edit Chyna out for next week.
Your hosts are Kevin Kelly, and Howard Finkel.
Dr Tom Prichard's still nowhere to be found.
Kelly's still wearing his golf outfit.
Howie looks like he's just done a solid two days' layover in the La Guardia airport passenger terminal, existing on nothing but coffee and airline food.
Kelly kicks today's show off with a brief run-down of KoTR, but says that the big news was last night's debut of WWF "Tough Enough" that followed Smackdown on MTV.
Additionally, we'll hear from Tazz, and Droz will be by with this week's "Two Cents."
Lastly, WWF Champ Steve Austin's coming by, and you can tell both Kelly and Howie wish they were anywhere but here.
First up is the unmasking of the Undertaker's "Stalker", the culprit being former WCW World Champion Diamond Dallas Page.
Kelly asks Fink what it was like to be in Tampa with DDP in the same arena. Fink says that he wasn't aware of DDP even being in the building, as busy as he was.
"I didn't even know who the "Stalker" was until last Monday night," says Fink.
"When the ski mask came off," says Kelly," didja 'Feel the Bang?'"
Fink laughs, and says that a lot of fans felt it on Monday night.
Kelly says that, though there's no scheduled match between Undertaker and DDP at KoTR, they will both be there.
"They are bound to run into each other," says Kelly, "and when they do, it'll be explosive!"
Fink says that, because DDP has not mentioned anything about being a member of WCW. Nor, unlike other former WCW stars who've made their appearance already, has DDP appeared with Shane McMahon at his side.
"It seems that the one thing that fans want now, more than anything," says Fink, "is the WWF to get the WCW "Re-launch" underway. To have DDP come in and go right after one of the top dogs in the yard, it's great for the WWF and the new ("new?") WCW."
"The confrontation between the Undertaker and DDP at KoTR," says Kelly, "is what's going to start the war. A lot of fans, including me, have always wondered about a match between a WCW competitor, and a WWF competitor. Looks like we are about to get our wish granted."
Kelly goes on to say that Shane McMahon has opened the "Gates of Hell," to paraphrase the Undertaker's bellow on Smackdown last night, though he (Kelly) isn't sure if Shane-O-Mac really had anything to do with DDP's being the "Stalker."
"It'll be interesting," says Kelly, "to see where Shane positions himself in all of this."
Time for Droz's "Two Cents," and Darren Drozdov joins the show for his weekly insight into the WWF's doings.
Droz is all about Perry Saturn this week, waxing poetic about how Saturn has done such a great job of re-inventing his character.
Droz had noticed that, just prior to his current "head injury" angle, Saturn was borrowing from Droz's bag-o-gimmicks, using the eye makeup, the big fuzzy hat, stuff like that. "And the thing of it was," says Droz, "all Perry had to do was just be Perry, the badass in wrestling trunks, out there busting heads. He didn't need all those toys and stuff to get over with the crowd. In a way, he's re-re-invented himself by going back to his roots.
"Saturn has always been his own worst critic," says Droz, "he's always trying to find a new Perry Saturn when all he needs to be is the REAL Perry Saturn, and not keep re-inventing himself. Perry should just be Perry. No frills, no funny stuff. He just comes to the ring and tears you apart.
Droz thinks that the "head injury" angle is a great one, and that Saturn's not done with it by a long shot.
Kelly segues Droz's last comment into talking about how Stone Cold Steve Austin has reinvented his persona, to which Droz agrees wholeheartedly.
Time for predictions.
Droz thinks that the "Triple Threat Match" for the WWF Championship Title between Austin, Chris Benoit, and Chris Jericho will be won by Jericho. Though he doesn't know why. It's just a gut feeling. Droz then adds that the win will split "The Two Chrisses" for good.
As for the KoTR match, Droz says that he's picking Edge as the winner, which means that ANYBODY but Edge will be the winner, as his predictions suck big time. Laughs all around, as Droz closes out by plugging his "Two Cents" site over at WWF.com, and that the fans can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelly and Fink talk about Lilian Garcia being featured in this month's "Jersey Style" magazine, which leads to some reminiscing on the Fink's part about WWF shows he's seen in East Rutherford, NJ. Where, oddly enough, Sunday's KoTR-PPV will be held. Fink asks Kelly if he has "Jersey Style," to which Kelly replies in the affirmative, since he's from the Garden State.
More predictions on the outcome of KoTR, this time from former WWF Light Heavyweight Champ, Jerry Lynn. It's definitely gonna be Edge, says Lynn, because Rhyno's too wild and reckless, andKurt Angle's too over-confident, meaning he's gonna take his opponents too lightly, always a mistake. Christian may have come off the worse for the big falling out with Edge, but Edge is hungrier, and that's why he'll be the 2001 King of The Ring.
Kelly and Fink both laugh, saying that Edge's chances are plummeting because he's been picked twice.
Discussion shifts to the importance of the "Monday Night Raw" on the following night at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and the Smackdown from the same location on Thursday
Fink says that MSG is THE wrestling venue; "There's just some sort of magic, or an aura about the place, "says Fink, "that tells you 'this is the World's Most Famous Arena!"
Kelly says that if you can't be at KoTR, then the next best place is over at "WWF New York," the best place to watch the PPV.
"Hundreds of TVs," says Kelly, "and they've even got a TitanTron!" Kelly then does a quick shill to goad us into ordering the PPV once more.
"We'll be ready for you Sunday," he purrs. "and speaking of entertaining shows, how about last night's debut of "WWF Tough Enough?"
This brings on Tazz and his weekly segment, "Tales From the Hook."
As Kevin and Fink put Tazz over, Tazz seems to be having difficulty getting through, phonewise, finally disappearing all together.
Byte This! producer "Big Country" says not to worry, and zap! Tazz is back, and sounding better than ever.
(Though there are a lot of young kids' voices hollering in the background. I think Tazz got out of his car and walked up to his front porch. It sounds like the kids are playing "Johnny On A Pony" from all the noise they are making.)
Fink says that "Tales From the Hook" is his favorite segment on Byte This!
Kevin and Tazz discuss the "Tough Enough" Casting Show, which debuted last night. Kevin says that Tazz was the star of the show, especially where he stormed into the waiting room and chewed out the whiners who were complaining about having been there since 6 AM, and here it is 2 PM already, etc. etc.
(And boy, that one brunette Diva wannabe got her freakin' EARS pinned back when she made the mistake of ignoring Tazz. Welcome to "Shoot City" there, darlin'!)
Kevin asks Tazz if he has any regrets about the choices that were made. Tazz says no, although he felt that some of the alternates should have made the "Final 13" cut, since some of the wannabes dropped out early, "and pissed me off!"
Tazz thinks the show will be a big hit every week, and that it's going to give a different side of the WWF, showing what aspiring pro wrestlers have to go through to make it in the business these days.
"I think the fans and the public as a whole will have a greater amount of respect for what the wrestlers do in this industry," says Tazz.
Kevin segues this into the battering WWF announcer Michael Cole took at the hands of Steve Austin on Smackdown last night.
Tazz says that, although he wasn't in Orlando due to being busy promoting "Tough Enough," he did see the tape, and what he saw "wasn't entertainment."
"It was rough! I grew up watching guys get banged around in the street," says Tazz, "and I've taken and given ass-kickings. But Michael Cole getting beat up was rough for me to watch. There are times when a man lets his emotions get the better of him, and that's what happened to Steve Austin last night; he lost control."
Kevin says that the scuttlebutt going around the locker room is that Tazz is going to stick up for Cole, his Smackdown broadcast partner.
Tazz says that he's said all he's going to say, and that, well, you just never know what's going to happen.
Tazz continues by saying that Cole's terror was real last night, and that he's bruised and limping, but that he will be all right, and that he hopes the fans now have a different respect for Michael Cole.
"I'm a big fan of his work," says Tazz, "just like your work, Kevin, and Howard's work. Cole's been only an announcer since he joined the WWF."
"Through my work as a commentator," says Tazz, "I've learned that you guys are worked on and produced constantly, in order to maintain the high quality expected of a WWF announcer. But the fans rarely get to know the 'man behind the microphone,' and maybe this will give them a new respect for who Michael Cole is."
Kevin smoothly shifts the discussion to King of The Ring, and the following Raw and Smackdown. "We'll be right in your neighborhood, Tazz," says Kelly.
"Yeah, just get on the train and you're there, " laughs Tazz.
Kelly asks Tazz about his predictions for KoTR.
Tazz says that his original prediction that Test would win turned out to be wrong, and now it's a tough call.
"I like Edge and Kurt Angle," says Tazz, "and although Edge has the better chance, He's going with "Our Olympic Hero," and Kelly asks Fink if he's keeping score?
"Yeah," says Fink, "that's two for Edge and one for Kurt Angle."
Surprisingly, Tazz has a laconic "no comment" when asked who will win the "Triple Threat" Main Event between Austin, Benoit, and Jericho.
(Hmmm. Will Tazz interfere in the Main Event, seeking revenge for Michael Cole? That makes sense in a kind of twisted way.)
As Tazz leaves, Fink asks him what they will talk about on next week's "Tales From the Hook?"
"Just like this week," says Tazz, "absolutely nothing!"
The Dudley Boyz winning the Tag Titles from Benoit & Jericho on last night's Smackdown gets the "Pulp Fiction" treatment this week.
(If you ask me, their heel turn was way overdue!)
Austin's interference makes the win possible.
No matter how nice the day is," says Fink, "the eye of the storm is Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Kelly and Fink recount Austin's latest exploits, including the petition signing ("Under duress, in my case," says Fink. "Mine too," says Kelly.) Austin's cozy-ing up to Vince McMahon, his previously mentioned help to the Dudley Boyz, his skull sessions with Yoshihiro Tajiri that culminated in his ultimatum to Vince McMahon, his stomping of first Spike Dudley on Raw, and then Michael Cole on Smackdown. This last resulted in Mr. McMahon reading Austin the Riot Act, and giving him an ultimatum of his own:
"You will get no help from me," says Vince, "I will not be at King of The Ring. You will either be successful in your Title defense, or you and I are through!"
As "Big Country" is trying to get Austin on the line, Kelly is handed a piece of paper from stage left. It's a drawing. Kelly's young son is just off-stage, and the drawing's from him.
Talk shifts to which KoTR Fink thinks is the best. Without hesitation, Fink answers 1993, because one, it was the re-start of the pay per view industry. Two, KoTR is considered to be one of the "Big Five" PPV's, even though the WWF has one every month.
The very first one was special because Bret Hart squared off against Jerry Lawler.
This leads to this week's "Outthink the Fink" question:
At the 1993 KoTR, Hulk Hogan faced Yokozuna, and Yokozuna won the match by using an item he got from a certain individual at ringside. What was the item used?
The winner gets a copy of Lita's latest video! Yowza!
Kelly says that his favorite KoTR was the "Birth of Attitude" in 1996, with "Austin 3:16."
Speaking of which, Steve Austin still hasn't called in, so it's time for some calls.
The first caller says that Christian will win this year's KoTR, defeating Edge. The caller takes a stab at answering this week's "Outthink the Fink" saying it was "Fuji powder."
Nope, wrong answer, although it does prompt Kelly to ask if Dr. Harvey Whippleman was involved, to which Fink answers, "yes."
Caller Two says he hasn't seen anyone get such a beating since the old days of the Degeneration X "wedgies!" He then asks Kelly and Fink for THEIR thoughts on KoTR.
Kelly says that Kurt Angle gets his vote. Fink says that, although he thinks Angle's got a fighting chance, his money is on Rhyno, because he's like a bull in the ring.
"There's no limits to this guy's power," says Fink.
Kelly and Fink then get into a brief confab about who will make it to the KoTR finals, and why.
Kelly says that Kurt Angle is the only person in WWF history who has accomplished so much in so short a time, and that includes being inducted into the Amateur Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Fink says that Angle may have the capability of wrestling in two matches at KoTR, but not three. "He's got that "Street Fight" match scheduled against Shane McMahon," says Fink, "and what happens if it's in between the semifinals and the finals of the tournament? What kind of condition will he be in going into the finals? Kelly rejoins that Angle is focused on repeating his win from last year. "If there's any upset," says Kelly, "Shane McMahon will be the one to do it, somehow, some way."
Caller Two says that no way Angle gets the win, because he will be wrestling his third match of the evening, and will be too exhausted and beat-up from the first two to make a decent showing. Caller Two's KoTR pick is Edge, because Edge has the seniority, out of everybody else in the RECK group.
Caller Three asks if the "Triple Threat" stipulation in the Main Event is just another example of Vince McMahon trying to steal the Title away from Austin again?
"By no means," says Kelly, "McMahon wants Austin on his side, despite all the aggravation he's caused. If either Jericho or Benoit win the Title, McMahon loses as much as Austin would, because neither Jericho or Benoit are on McMahon's side.
"Nobody thought Stone Cold would side with Vince," says the caller, "but he did!"
Kelly says that he's learned to "never say 'never'" in the WWF.
"There is more, much more, than just the WWF Championship Title on the line here," says Kelly, to which Fink agrees.
Fink sees the relationship between McMahon and Austin to be purely business; "They will never be what you would call 'friends,' " says Fink, "only business associates! We've got a combustible situation here, and who knows when or if it's going to explode?!"
Caller Four, "Jesse", goes all kayfabe, saying that he's been on hold for ten minutes and doesn't deserve to be treated like this!
This cracks everybody up.
Turns out "Jesse's" from New Jersey, and tried to get tickets to KoTR, but they sold out in TWO HOURS!
"You got 'Jersey Style?'" asks Kelly with a smirk.
"Huh?" says Jesse.
"Why not head on over to WWF New York, and watch the show from there?" asks Kelly.
"Because there's a two hour line there," says Jesse, "and it's too hard to get in."
"Then just go ahead and buy your tickets in advance," retorts Kelly, "and you won't have to wait in line at all!"
Jesse thinks Angle will win the KoTR tournament, "because Angle will lose to Shane, and get hurt by another "jump-from-the-TitanTron" type move by Shane.
"That'll set Angle off," says Jesse, "so that when he faces Edge in the finals, he's gonna put the ankle lock on first thing, and score a quick victory!"
It's at this point that WWF Champ Stone Cold Steve Austin joins the show, and he's all kayfabe and vengeful attitude.
Austin thinks that Jesse was just "flapping his gums," and that nobody will care who wins KoTR this year, because the real show will be the match for the Championship Title.
Austin continues his little tirade by saying that everybody's been running him down, selling him off, and saying that he's going to lose the Title in the "Triple Threat" match. Michael Cole did that, and Michael Cole got exactly what he deserved on Smackdown, with no regrets at all from Austin.
"You don't sass Stone Cold Steve Austin, and call Vince McMahon, Stone Cold Steve Austin's friend, the "Devil," and not expect to get a payback," says Austin.
Fink wants to know Austin's thoughts on the closing moments of last night's Smackdown show.
"No comment," says Austin.
When Kelly tries to pursue this line of questioning, Austin tersely tells him to "talk about something else!"
Kelly mollifies Austin by commenting on the 1996 KoTR, where "Attitude" and "Austin 3:16" was born. Austin says it made his career. "Wrestlemania may be the biggest," says Austin, "but KoTR can give somebody's career a big kick straight in the ass!"
Austin's take on this year's possible winner finds him leaning towards Kurt Angle, although Edge is right up there as well, and not to count out Christian or Rhyno, either.
Looks like he's got all the bases covered there, doesn't it?
Discussion shifts to Austin's latest character developments, and we finally see a crack in the kayfabe armor when Austin says that his character is always a work in progress, and no big deal. He's had the most fun with stuff like his conversations with Tajiri on Raw, or the rub he gave to Spike Dudley with the petition angle to help Spike get over.
(From this, what comes across from Austin is that here is a wrestler who is very comfortable with the direction his character is heading, and he's just having one helluva good time playing the part!)
Austin sees Diamond Dallas Page's appearance ion Last Monday's Raw to be a "breath of fresh air."
"It'll be great to see the Undertaker have someone to wrestle against, and that DDP will be a tremendous asset to the WWF. I worked with the guy down in the old WCW," says Austin, "and he's one of the hardest workers I know!"
Back to the phones, where Caller Five asks who Austin thinks is better, Chris Benoit, or Chris Jericho?
Austin says that Benoit "brings out the best in Stone Cold. He's a helluva talent."
Fink goes to the Email Bag, where a fan wants to know if Austin did any soul-searching before embarking on the heel turn?
Austin says no, because it's his job to entertain, ,just like everybody else in the WWF. "I didn't count the risk, because I knew it would work out," he said.
Fink asks, when HHH returns from his injury, how that will affect Austin? Austin slips back into kayfabe, saying that he hasn't seen HHH come back yet.
Kelly asks Austin about the origins of the term "Bionic Redneck." Austin says he made it up, taking his redneck ways, and adding in the knee braces and all the hardware in his neck and back.
"It just sorta fits, don't it?" says Austin.
Kelly asks if he will try to pit Jericho and Benoit against each other? Austin says that, once in the ring, they won't be friends very long.
"Once in that ring" says Austin, "it's every man for himself. It'll be the damnedest match anybody's ever seen."
Caller Six wants to know how much longer Austin expects to be wrestling?
"About three more years," says Austin, without hesitation.
"It's all about setting and then meeting short-term goals," says Austin, "long-term, you never know what is going ot happen, so just set and meet short term goals, and stack them up on top of each other. Pretty soon, you've gotten a couple of years out of your short-term goals."
Discussion shifts to last night's "Tough Enough" debut.
Austin says it's an interesting concept and that he hopes it will do well.
Kelly asks if Austin would have tried this route ten years ago, when he was just starting out?
"Who knows?" says Austin.
Caller Seven wants to know why Austin gave Vince McMahon a hug?
"I was trying to patch things up,' says Austin.
Kelly mentions Debra's cookies, and Austin says that he likes to skip them across the water. This brings up Austin's on-camera relationship with his wife. Austin says that, even though it's work, it's really fun. Debra enjoys it a lot, too, although sometimes, the on-camera hostility is real. "But that's just normal 'living together' stuff," says Austin.
Kelly begins to wind the show up by asking what Austin's mindset is, some 60 hours from the KoTR Main Event?
Austin says that he wants to go out there and do his best, to put on a real show for the fans. Reality may dictate otherwise, so it's up to Austin to be THE performer, each and every time.
Back to the phones, where Caller Eight asks if there's anybody from WCW that Austin would like to wrestle?
"Not really," says Austin, "because they've all been off TV for so long, it'll take time to get them back up to speed to take on the WWF wrestlers." Kelly remarks that the Undertaker said the same thing when he was on Byte This!
Austin sees the Undertaker/DDP angle as being potential dynamite. "DDP is a protégé of Jake "The Snake" Roberts," says Austin, "and the Undertaker faced Roberts in the WWF.'
Kelly winds this segment up by thanking Austin for being on the show, and wishing him best of luck in the "Triple Threat" match at King of The Ring.
Austin thanks Kelly, and says to keep his feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.
Answer to this week's "Outthink the Fink" question is "a camera."
Dr. Harvey Whippleman was at ringside during the Hulk Hogan/Yokozuna match at the 1993 King of The Ring, and had brought along a camera, says Fink.
There's time for two more KoTR prediction calls.
Caller Nine says that it'll be Edge, no question about it.
Caller Ten says Kurt Angle.
Tie score, so Caller Eleven (from Atlanta, no less,) says that Kurt Angle will be the winner.
Kurt Angle - Five votes
Edge - Four votes
Christian and Rhyno - one vote each.
Next week's guest on Byte This! will be...
"Guess!" says Kevin Kelly, and the show ends.
See you next week.
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